Jessie Ginoza carries an image of her son Steven that she created with seeds and plants for a float that will honor organ donors in the Rose Parade.
Lifesaver’s visage rides float
Liliha resident Jessie Ginoza traveled to Los Angeles this month to help prepare a Rose Parade float that will feature an image of her son, whose organs saved four lives.
The Gift of Life
Since 1987 the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii has recovered 1,127 organs and completed 990 transplants.
A breakdown of what the 398 wait-listed patients are waiting for:
» 352 kidneys
» 42 livers
» 1 pancreas
» 3 kidney-pancreases
» 4 hearts
For more information visit www.organdonorhawaii. com or call 599-7630.
Using seeds and plants, Ginoza created a floragraph -- an organic image of her son Steven. The image will join a group of 40 on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, which remembers individuals whose donations helped others.
"His picture was the only picture sent from Hawaii, so he's kind of representing Hawaii in the Rose Parade," Ginoza said. "I felt that it was quite an honor for this to happen."
Steven Ginoza, 28, died on Mother's Day seven years ago after falling from an escalator at Ala Moana Center and hitting his head.
His mother's trek to California, however, comes at a time when organ donations are at a six-year low in Hawaii.
Sixty-one organs have been donated this year, and 398 people are waiting for an organ donation, according to the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii. Last year, 23 people died while waiting for an organ, while about 16 died in the first six months of this year, the latest figure available.
This month the families of three possible donors declined to donate.
In Hawaii about 40 percent of licensed drivers are registered as donors.
One person's donation, which can include eyes, skin, heart, kidneys and liver, can save the lives of three to four people, according to the ODCH, which celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.
"It's bittersweet," said Dr. Stephen Kula, of the organ donor center, because donations usually come from individuals who have died in an accident. "In the face of tragedy, something beautiful can come."
This year's donations are down from 81 last year.
The center hopes the Legislature passes two laws this coming session that will make organ recoveries easier. One is the creation of an organ donor registry, which will help doctors confirm that a person agreed to be an organ donor and take steps to keep the organs viable. Another will improve communication among medical agencies.
After the death of Steven Ginoza, a civil engineer for the Board of Water Supply, his liver helped a person in California, and his kidneys went to two people in Hawaii. Ginoza's heart saved a woman who would have died in two weeks, his mother said.
His family cremated his body, and friends spread some of his ashes on Mount Fuji.
Ginoza's image will be on the 25th float in the 119th Rose Parade on Jan. 1.
"I'm looking forward to seeing his picture," said Jessie Ginoza. "In a way he still lives on. In some way he's still touching others, and that's really special for me."