JACKSON — Family members and friends of organ and tissue donor Hailey Palumbo recently gathered at the Jackson Township Fire Department for the unveiling of a floragraph of Hailey that will be featured on the 2023 Donate Life Rose Parade float during the 2023 Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 2.
This year’s float will be adorned with 44 memorial floragraphs representing Hailey and others who have given the gift of life. The floragraphs replicate photographs and are made entirely of flowers, seeds and organic materials, according to an article provided by the NJ Sharing Network.
The Sharing Network Foundation is the sponsor of Hailey’s floragraph and her family’s trip to the 2023 Rose Parade. For the past 20 years, the Donate Life Rose Parade float has been the world’s most visible campaign to inspire people around the world to save and enhance lives with the powerful message of organ and tissue donation, according to the NJ Sharing Network.
Hailey was a loving daughter, sister and friend.
“Those who knew and loved Hailey recognized her as an energetic, good-hearted girl who brought joy to others and lit up a room when she walked in,” said her mother, Janet Palumbo. “Hailey was the life of the party and she had countless friends who always wanted to be around her to enjoy her company.”
On May 23, 2017, unexpected tragedy struck when Hailey passed away following a motor vehicle accident. At the time of her death, Hailey was 15 years old and a sophomore in high school.
“She was filled with big dreams and knew her purpose in life was to make a positive impact on others,” said Janet. “She was inspired by being a part of the Junior Air Force ROTC program. She planned to join the Air Force after high school where she would have proudly served defending our nation. She also planned to then enroll in college to become a surgeon. Hailey’s dream was to save lives.”
At the time of Hailey’s passing, representatives of NJ Sharing Network discussed the miracle of organ and tissue donation with her family.
Despite her family’s overwhelming feeling of loss, they chose to make Hailey’s dream to save lives come true through organ and tissue donation. Hailey saved five lives and continues to give a better quality of life to many others through her tissue donation.
By giving the gift of life to others, Hailey’s family has been blessed to meet many people. They made a powerful connection with John, one of Hailey’s kidney recipients, and his wife, Barbara. They also have become “like family” with Hannah, Hailey’s liver recipient, and her loved ones.
“Our family is comforted by knowing these amazing individuals have a better quality of life thanks to Hailey’s gifts,” said Janet. “We are excited to honor and remember Hailey and her beautiful soul at the 2023 Rose Parade. We take pride in knowing Hailey’s dream of saving lives came true.”
Currently celebrating its 35th anniversary, NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated nonprofit organization responsible for recovering donated organs and tissue and providing hope for nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. The network is part of the national recovery system for the more than 100,000 people on the national waiting list.
In 2021, 233 individuals in New Jersey gave the gift of life, an all-time high for a single year. In addition, 42,112 eye and tissue donations enhanced the quality of life for those in need.
The Sharing Network Foundation is committed to increasing the number of lives saved through clinical advancement, family support, public awareness and education about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation, according to the organization.