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Albany Med Today

Family Honors Local Girl on Donate Life Float

The portrait of a local girl who died in 2010 was displayed on the Donate Life float in this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. Her parents, Tom and Sue Van Wert of Niskayuna, and her brothers put the finishing touches on the floral rendering at a press conference in December at Albany Med.

Delany, a student at Van Antwerp Middle School, passed away suddenly at age 13 from a brain aneurysm. Just a year before, she had learned her father had designated himself an organ donor and told her family then that she, too, wanted to be a donor. Fulfilling Delany’s wish, her donated organs saved five people’s lives and her tissue and corneas helped improve the lives of 26 others.

“We are looking forward to spending the New Year in California and meeting other families whose loved ones are also organ donors,” Tom Van Wert said in December.

The float displays portraits of organ donors from throughout the nation. The portraits, known as “floragraphs,” are rendered from crushed seeds and flower material.

The Van Werts are active supporters of the Center for Donation and Transplant (CDT) which arranged for their participation in the parade. Michael Thibault, executive director of CDT, also spoke at the press conference.