PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– Zion Harvey, the Maryland boy who made headlines last year for being the first child in the world to undergo a double hand transplant in Philadelphia, will ride on the float at the Rose Parade today in California.
Nine-year-old Zion joins 23 others selected to ride on the float to promote organ and tissue donation.
For the past 14 years, Donate Life America has participated in this celebration.
Gift of Life Donor Program – the organ procurement organization (OPO) serving the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware – is supporting Zion Harvey’s journey to California, along with his mother, Patti Ray.
Thanks to the life-changing surgery in 2015 at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Zion can now throw a baseball over home plate, write in his journal, prepare lunch and manage zippers on his clothes.
When asked how his life has changed now that he has hands, Zion said, “I’m still the same kid everybody knew without hands. But I can do everything now. I can do the same things even better.”
The float’s theme is “Teammates in Life,” which stresses the importance of working together to save lives.
Organizers say the the float will depict a spectacular Polynesian catamaran, which will be propelled by Zion along with a team of 23 organ, eye, and tissue transplant recipients – rowing in unison with strength gained from their donors. The sails of the vessel will feature 60 floral portraits of donors interwoven with Polynesian designs and patterns.