Tulsa Family to be Honored at 2015 Rose Parade
Amanda Philpott and Cheryl Manley to be Featured on the Donate Life Float
Cheryl Manley, of Tulsa, will be honored as a living organ donor in the 2015 Rose Parade. Cheryl will walk with the Donate Life Float on New Year’s Day.
While Cheryl is participating as living donor, her daughter, Amanda Philpott, an organ and tissue donor, will be featured in a floragraph on the float. Amanda is one of 72 deceased donors honored as a floragraph.
The honor for this Tulsa family is unique as Cheryl will be the first living organ donor to walk in the Rose Parade alongside a floragraph of their loved one.
A floragraph is a portrait, of the donor, created with floral materials such as seeds, grains, spices, dried flowers and other organic materials. Eventually the completed floragraph display will be featured on the 2015 Donate Life Rose Parade Float.
Ever since the tragic loss of her daughter, Cheryl has been a strong advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation. On Oct. 16, 2014, Cheryl donated one of her kidneys to another donor mom she had grown close to through her advocacy work.
Amanda and Cheryl’s Story
Their transplant story began Sunday, November 24, 1996, while returning home from church. Cheryl’s oldest daughters, Alisa and Amanda, were involved in a horrible traffic accident. The family was informed that Alisa would survive her injuries, but Amanda’s were very serious.
Amanda had a brain injury and surgery was performed in an attempt to reduce the swelling to save her life.
“At that time we were asked to consider organ and tissue donation,” recalls Cheryl. “Amanda loved helping others, so the decision was not difficult.”
During that time, Cheryl remembered a prayer request for someone named Bonnie Duke who needed a heart so she asked if Bonnie could have Amanda’s heart. The family was told donation depended on the waiting list and it was not likely. Amanda would be left on life support another 24 hours.
On Tuesday, Cheryl and her family were told that Amanda was gone.
“My husband and I had the task of going to tell her sister, Alisa, who was still hospitalized across town,” Cheryl remembers. “We brought her back to the hospital to say goodbye to Amanda.”
The next day as Cheryl was preparing to meet their pastor at the funeral home, she received a call from one of Amanda’s good friends. The friend was dating the grandson of Bonnie, who had received a new heart the night before.
“We were pretty sure that Amanda was the donor,” said Cheryl. “That was confirmed later!”
Bonnie and Cheryl spoke many times together regarding the need for organ, eye and tissue donation. Unfortunately, Bonnie passed away in 2001.
Cheryl continued her work to encourage organ, eye and tissue donation. She currently serves as co-manager for Team Oklahoma, which is a group of transplant recipients and donor families that participate in athletic events to celebrate the success of organ, eye and tissue donation. The team attends the Transplant Games every other year.
In 2002, Cheryl’s transplant story continued to grow as she met another donor mom, Stephanie Baker. Stephanie’s son had died in 2001 and was a donor. Stephanie’s mother had received a kidney transplant over 25 years ago, so making the decision to allow her son, Cody, to donate was a natural decision for her family.
Cheryl explains “our families have become very close friends and have attended several Games together.”
Earlier this year, Cheryl learned Stephanie’s kidneys were failing and she knew immediately she wanted to be tested to donate her kidney to Stephanie.
“We were both surprised that we are a match,” said Cheryl. “Our surgery date was October 16, 2014! We are both doing very well.”
Cheryl was able to return to work exactly three weeks after the surgery.
Cheryl’s transplant story took another turn this year, as her family will be honored at the 2015 Rose Parade. Amanda’s picture will be a floragraph on the Donate Life Float and Cheryl will be walking with the float as a living donor.
“My work with organ, eye and tissue donation has taught me so much. I know it saves lives.” explains Cheryl. “I am truly honored to be able to help educate the public through my volunteer work.”
LifeShare is a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization (OPO) dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes. We work closely with four transplant centers and 145 healthcare organizations in the state of Oklahoma to facilitate donation. Additionally, we strive to raise awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education.
Jeff Orlowski, President and CEO of LifeShare, presents a floragraph of Amanda Philpott to her mother Cheryl Manley.