Mother from Bryan to ride in Rose Bowl Parade floatWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
On New Year’s Day, one area woman will ride on a float during the Rose Bowl Parade in honor of her deceased infant son.
Denien Wilde of Bryan will be accompanied by her 8-year-old daughter when she rides on the “Donate Life” Float in Pasadena, Calif.
About four years ago, Wilde’s 2-month-old son Quinn, who had a seizure disorder, died. Wilde and her husband decided to donate their son’s heart valves, which ended up saving the lives of two infant girls.
Quinn’s picture is one of 72 to be represented in “floragraphs” on the float. Floragraphs are portraits created with spices, seeds and other organic materials, according to a news release. Quinn’s floragraph is sponsored by American Association of Tissue Banks in partnership with Community Tissue Services.
“Our daughter’s so excited because everything on TV happens in California,” Wilde said with a laugh.
“I’m just so honored and so excited about it and it’s just crazy that my son’s picture is going to be on the float,” she said.
She added, “It’s just awesome because people are going to think about infants being donors.”
“Donations for adults are quite lacking and it’s even more so for children and infants. As hard it is to think about, it is something that needs to be thought about.”
An average tissue donor can help or save 50 people. There are more than 115,000 people in the United States awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant, according to Community Tissue. Ohioans account for 3,000 of those waiting.
Wilde said while she had declared herself to be a donor years ago, she never thought she’d be in a position to do it for one of her children.
“I really think that our grief would be very different if we hadn’t made the decision to donate his heart valves,” she emphasized. “It’s just been something really positive and beautiful to think about and hold on to.”
Wilde also wrote a children’s book, “Who Will Feed My Goldfish?” based on her family’s experience.
“When we were at hospice, my brother said to my daughter, ‘Now Quinn will be able to help feed your goldfish in heaven,’” she said. “The book just basically expresses that God loves all creatures and we go to heaven and live with God and have what we need.”
Wilde hasn’t met the heart valve recipients’ families yet.
“It’s entirely up to them to initiate that. I hope that it happens someday, but I realize that it might not. It’s such an emotional, sensitive thing,” she said. “We just have to hope that maybe they’ll contact us someday. I would just like to know that their babies are OK.”
Wilde added of her son, “He was a gift to us. We really were on the fence about having a third child when we found out I was pregnant. He was a beautiful surprise.”
Ohioans may register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor at DonateLifeOhio.org, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or by contacting Community Tissue Services at (866) 684-7783.
To learn more, visit www.communitytissue.org.