SOURCE: Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network

November 28, 2011 16:07 ET

Chicago Boxer's Legend and Heroism to Be Honored on Donate Life's Rose Parade® Float

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - Nov 28, 2011) - In honor of his brother, "El Niño Azteca" or "The Aztec Kid," whose selfless gift saved the lives of five others, Alex Rodriguez will represent Chicago, his family and Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network as a featured rider on the ninth Donate Life float in the 2012 Rose Parade®.

Alex and the heroic story of his brother, professional boxer Francisco "Paco" Rodriguez, were carefully selected to participate in the nation's most visible campaign to inspire people to save lives as registered organ, eye, and tissue donors. A "floragraph" portrait of Paco, made entirely of organic floral materials, will be featured on a large floral timepiece that demonstrates the precious time we have to spend with our loved ones.

"Paco" Rodriguez was a proud Mexican-American who came from a very admired and respected family of boxers. Paco became a Chicago hometown favorite winning the 2001 national Golden Gloves championship title at age 17. He also was a five-time Chicago Golden Gloves champion and competed in the 2004 U.S. Olympic trials. Tragically in November 2009, at just 25 years old, Paco died from injuries sustained from a title bout. He was survived by his wife Sonia and infant daughter Ginette. Despite the hurt of his death, his mourning family and fans were able to find consolation in his heroic act of donating his organs that saved the lives of five people.

"My brother always wanted to be a hero, and his dream came true," said Alex. "I am privileged to work with Gift of Hope and to ride on the Donate Life Rose Parade® float helping bring attention to this wonderful message."

Locally, Gift of Hope will hold a very special vigil in Paco's memory on December 13 at a gym in Garfield Park in Chicago. Sonia Rodriguez, Paco's wife, and his 2-year-old daughter Ginette will add finishing touches to the "floragraph" portrait before it is sent back to California to be placed on the float for the parade.

For more information or to register as a donor, call (630) 758-2744 or visit www.giftofhope.org.

About Gift of Hope
Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network is proud to serve as the federally designated, not-for-profit organ procurement organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation and provides donor family services and public education in Illinois and northwest Indiana. Since 1986, Gift of Hope has coordinated donations that have saved the lives of more than 18,000 organ transplant recipients and improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of tissue transplant recipients. As one of 58 organ procurement organizations that make up the nation's organ and tissue donation system, Gift of Hope works with 180 hospitals and serves 12 million residents in its donation service area.

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