Parade float brings transplant recipients togetherSubmitted: 07/02/2013
Story By Lex Gray

RHINELANDER - "Last year in early May, she woke up very ill after a weekend of birthday parties," said Michelle Wolfe. "She woke up, and by that evening, we found out she was in heart failure."

Wolfe found out a few weeks later that her daughter, Lauren, needed a new heart.

On June 27, she got one.

"We do think of that family often, to think about the fact that, in the face of a loss, they chose to give someone else new life," Wolfe said. "To see that life in front of us, that we share every day, is really special."

While most families were celebrating on Independence Day last year, Lauren and her family were in the hospital.

"It was a very emotional summer, and it impacts the whole family," said her grandpa, Tim Helmick.

This summer, they're not in the hospital. But Helmick still remembers all the other families who are waiting for an organ.

"It happened shortly after Lauren had her transplant, and it just popped into my head as something I felt I should do," Helmick said.

Tim is busy building a 4th of July parade float for transplant recipients and their families.

"When you see the impact and the new life it can give to somebody, it's like the ultimate gift of hope," Wolfe said.

Wolfe and Helmick hope people watching the parade will think about becoming a donor.

"There's an online registry that people can go out to sign up and commit their wishes to be a donor, [to] encourage people to think about it and decide whether they want to be an organ donor if that opportunity was ever presented, and to share those wishes with family members," Wolfe said.

To sign up for the organ donor float, call Tim 715-490-1261.

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