When Connor Randall, 22, was 13 years old, he received a rose from his aunt that represented a spot on the Donor Alliance float in the 2006 Rose Parade, and this year, he received a rare chance to ride the same float.
Randall, an Arvada resident, was chosen as one of 30 donation recipients nationwide to ride on the Donor Alliance float in the 2014 Rose Parade.
“The theme is to pick living donors to walk and riders are recipients,” Andrea Smith, a spokesperson with Donor Alliance said. “Connor has a very inspiring story, not only is he a good, smart, young man, but he loves life and believes he needs to take the gifts he’s been given and live life to the fullest.”
Born with cardiomiothopy, or an underdeveloped heart muscle, Randall was diagnosed when he was three months old and immediately put on a transplant waiting list. Three months later, he received a heart, but after 13 years of living life as a normal kid, Randall’s body began rejecting his donated heart, so he went back on the transplant waiting list.
Thirteen months later, Randall received the call that would change his life, telling him he had a new heart.
“I was probably a few days away from death,” Randall said, “I was cold, sick, had pick lines (portable IV) — I could barely walk.”
Today, Randall is a senior studying political economics at Regis University in Denver, he plays drums in a band, works part time as a ghost hunt tour guide at the Stanley Hotel and enjoys living life to the fullest.
“I’m here today because of the generosity of two donors and their families,” Randall said. “I think about them every day, it’s the kind of gratitude you can’t express.”
Sixty-seven percent of Colorado residents are registered organ donors. To register or learn more about organ donation visit www.donatelifeco.org.
“There are two processes, it’s really special and deeply personal to be with donors, recipients and their families,” Randall said, “but for those who don’t know about it, that one — one and half minutes this float is on TV. will hopefully get people to change their minds and that would be pretty special.”