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Special event unveiled a floragraph honoring 25-year-old Matthew Messina that will be featured in the 2024 Rose Parade®
Edison, NJ (December 13, 2023) — Donor Network West, an organization that saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation and research, and MTF Biologics, a global non-profit organization that saves and heals lives by honoring donated gifts, hosted a memorial event honoring organ and tissue donor and U.S. Marine, Matthew Messina at MTF Biologics Tuesday, December 12, 2023.
The event gathered the organ and tissue donation community and Messina's family and featured a rose dedication to the family as well as the presentation of a floragraph featuring Messina that will travel across the country to be a part of the OneLegacy Donate Life Rose Parade® Float on January 1, 2024.
"In a time when my family could see only darkness, the miracle of organ and tissue donation let us see that Matt's life had done so much good for so many who needed help," his mother Jan Messina explained. "It's given us hope. And slowly but surely, we're living our lives again."
Messina dedicated his young life to service. As a U.S. Marine and big brother to two sisters, he is described as someone who put others before himself. His dreams of continuing to help others through work with young children was cut short when he was seriously injured when a drunk driver struck him in a hit-and-run crash in June 2023. Through organ and tissue donation, Messina was able to provide one last act of kindness in service to others. The donation of his kidneys, pancreas, and liver saved the lives of three others. As a tissue donor, he was able to help more than 100 people regain mobility and enjoy a better quality of life. In total, his organs and tissues helped people living in more than 25 states.
"Organ and tissue donor heroes like Matthew save lives and their legacies live on in recipients who have been given a second chance at life," said Janice Whaley, President and CEO, Donor Network West. "It's a privilege for Donor Network West to honor donors like Matthew and their families."
Donor Network West and MTF Biologics are sponsors of the 2024 Donate Life Rose Parade® float, which will feature organ donors represented by floragraphs as well as individuals from across the U.S. who are transplant recipients and living donors. The 2024 Donate Life parade float, titled "Woven Together: The Dance of Life," aims to inspire viewers to say yes to joining the registry as organ donors and to give hope to the 100,000 people who are on the national transplant wait list. The 2024 Donate Life float aims to repeat its success and recognition following the 2023 Donate Life float design which received the Tournament of Roses Sweepstakes Award, the highest Tournament of Roses honor.
"We remember donors like Matthew Messina as heroes. We're grateful to be able to shine light on his life-saving gifts and honor him with a 'floragraph' as part of the OneLegacy Donate Life Rose Parade. Matthew's story highlights the important work of MTF Biologics and Donor Network West, saving and healing lives," said Joe Yaccarino, President, and CEO, MTF Biologics.
For more than 35 years, MTF Biologics has been processing tissue grafts from human donors that are used in a growing array of clinical applications – positively affecting lives across the globe. To date, MTF Biologics has recovered tissue from over 165,000 donors. Since its inception, they have provided over 10 million allografts to clinical partners.
About MTF Biologics
MTF Biologics is a global nonprofit organization that saves and heals lives by honoring donated gifts, serving patients and advancing science. They provide unmatched service, resources, and expertise to donors and their loved ones who give the gift of donation, people who depend on tissue and organ transplants, healthcare providers, and clinicians and scientists.
The International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM), a Division of MTF Biologics, honors donors of non-transplantable organs by providing their gifts to the medical research community to combat and cure diseases. Statline, also a Division of MTF Biologics, provides specialized communications and technology expertise to organ, tissue, and eye procurement organizations, as well as the hospitals and patients that they serve. Its sister organization, Deutsches Institute for Zell-und Gewebeersatz – DIZG (The German Institute for Cell and Tissue Transplantation) expands its reach to patients across the globe. For more information, visit www.mtfbiologics.org.