Donate Life honors Kern County toddler during 2014 Rose Parade

Float to educate and raise awareness


Volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the Donate-Life float to be featured in next month’s Rose Bowl Parade.

“I want them to take away the honor of life.  You know, even in a tragic moment, you can find joy in life in knowing that you given part of your loved one to save someone else,” said Trina Rothermel of Bakersfield.

Rothermel’s three-year-old daughter, Jaidyn is among the 72 people being honored.  The toddler died two years ago drowning in a pool.

“I had a lot of questions.  I was asking a million questions of the people that wanted me to donate because it’s a bitter sweet time but in the end I know that we made the right choice, that Jayden would want us to give life to someone if it was all possible,” she said.

Jaidyn’s loved ones joined other families recently helping design the Donate-Life float.  It’s the 11th year the group has participated in the parade becoming the world’s most visible campaign to inspire others to become organ and tissue donors.

“When somebody passes away and they have that opportunity to be a donor, do you know what its like saving somebody’s life who have not been able to be at their daughter’s wedding or son’s graduation? And so that’s what we want people to take away, the uniqueness of being brought together,” said Lori Malkin, founder of JJ’s Legacy.

22 percent of people living in Kern County are registered donors and group’s like JJ’s Legacy is hoping to boost that number with awareness.

“It’s such a tragic situation anyway and then you have to make this decision with what you want to do with your loved one so that’s why I feel its so important to educate and bring the awareness and to be able to do this,” she said.

For more information on JJ’s Legacy visit the group’s web page here.


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