Hawaii Organ Donor to be honored at Rose Parade

Honolulu, HI – November 17, 2016 – Chase Kai Horimoto, is among 60 individuals nationally, and the only one from Hawai'i, to be honored as an organ donor in the 2017 Rose Parade. The 2017 Donate Life America float depicts a traditional double-hull catamaran inspired by Hawai'i’s Polynesian voyaging canoe, the Hōkūle'a.

The image of Chase Horimoto, who is of Native Hawaiian ancestry, will be transformed into a floragraph that will adorn the Donate Life float in the 128th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on Jan. 1, 2017. A floragraph –distinctive to the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade – is a portrait representation of an individual made with seeds and other organic materials.

On May 7, 2015, Horimoto passed away at Castle Medical Center on Oahu’s windward side. He was 21 years old. As an organ donor, Horimoto saved the lives of three people – two locally and a third in Oregon.

“Chase was a very caring and loving person. Anytime someone needed help, Chase was there.  So in his passing, we knew it was the right decision to help those who needed it. Chase would be so proud. He is looking down with his awesome smile at all of us,” said Kerene Izumigawa, his mother.

A graduate of James B. Castle High School, he pursued his passion for Hawaiian studies at Windward Community College in Kaneohe.  He created fish hooks, Hawaiian statues and explored the culture that has made the Hawaiian Islands truly unique.  He eventually wanted to teach that Hawaiian culture to others. 

To enable family, friends, teachers and organ-donation supporters in the community to celebrate Horimoto’s life, Legacy of Life Hawai‘i will host a floragraph finishing event on Nov. 21, 2016. The event will be held at 10:00 a.m. at Legacy of Life Hawai’i’s main conference room. Chase’s mother, Kerene Izumigawa, will complete the remaining pieces of Kameron’s portrait which is made of organic materials.

This year’s theme for the float, Teammates for Life, depicts a Polynesian catamaran amidst a Hawaiian paradise with two species of honey creeper birds perched in a lush landscape of tropical flowers and palms. A pair of tikis, the shorter one Kane, the tiki of light and the taller one Lono, the tiki of abundance and peace, peer out of the overgrown jungle.  

“Chase had dreams of sailing on the Hōkūle'a and said he wanted to have his ashes scattered during one of its voyages.” his mother shared.

The completed floragraph will be returned to Pasadena to be featured in the parade. This is the 14th year that Donate Life America (DLA) has entered a float in the Rose Parade to inspire millions of people to save and heal lives as organ, eye and tissue donors. The Donate Life Rose Parade float is the nation’s, and the world’s, most visible public celebration of organ and tissue donation and has received many awards.

The Donate Life float’s riders, walkers and floragraph honorees represent millions of people who have been touched by organ and tissue donation, including donor families, their deceased loved ones, living donors, transplant recipients and transplant candidates. Riders, walkers and floragraph honorees are individually sponsored by Official Partners who support the Donate Life Parade financially. 

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