(NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ) – Family and friends of organ and tissue donor Joseph (Joey) C. Savage, IV, of Fredon, NJ, recently gathered at NJ Sharing Network for the unveiling of a floragraph memorial portrait of Joey that will be featured on the 2023 Donate Life Rose Parade float during the 2023 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on January 2, 2023.
This year’s float will be adorned with 44 memorial floragraphs, representing Joey and others who have given the gift of life. The floragraphs replicate photographs and are made entirely of flowers, seeds, and organic materials.
The Sharing Network Foundation and MTF Biologics are proud to co-sponsor Joey’s floragraph and his 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.
On October 17, 2017, Joey passed away at the age of 25 due to a car accident. Although the hearts of Joey’s loved ones were shattered, it gave them peace to know that a special part of Joey will continue to live on thanks to his selfless decision to register as an organ and tissue donor. Joey saved the lives of four people in need of organs, which included his heart, two kidneys and liver. His corneas gave the gift of sight back to two young men and his tissue donations have also enhanced the lives of 126 people.
“Joey was always full of life and energy,” said Heather Prutzman, Joey’s mother. “Everyone simply loved to be around him because he cared for others and had a joyful, larger than life personality. He was always doing something fun and active, like playing hoops, fishing, snowboarding, jet skiing and going to concerts and music festivals.”
In 2018, Joey’s touching story of hope took another amazing turn. Heather was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer that required major spine surgery and a spinal fusion to stabilize her spine. Thanks to the coordinated efforts of NJ Sharing Network and MTF Biologics, Heather underwent a successful spine surgery that included two pieces of Joey’s donated bones that were a perfect match. This marked the first child donor to parent recipient in the history of NJ Sharing Network and MTF Biologics.
“This was Joey’s way of saying ‘Keep going mom, I got your back, you got this,’” said Heather.
After Joey’s passing, Heather met Jim McLoughlin of Spring Lake, NJ, the recipient of Joey's heart. As she listened to Joey’s heartbeat inside of Jim, she whispered, “I love you buddy always and forever.”
Jim was also in attendance during the floragraph unveiling event at NJ Sharing Network along with his wife and two daughters. “Every day, I thank both God and Joey for giving me the gift of life. It is truly a miracle. As my children say, Joey is my guardian angel incarnated.”
According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a life-saving transplant. One organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of over 75 others. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.
PHOTO CREDIT AND CAPTION: Courtesy of NJ Sharing Network
The family of organ and tissue donor Joseph (Joey) C. Savage, IV, recently gathered at NJ Sharing Network for the unveiling of a floragraph tribute to Joey that will be featured on the 2023 Donate Life Rose Parade float during the 2023 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California on January 2, 2023. Pictured here are Joey’s mother and his stepfather, Heather and John Prutzman.
About NJ Sharing Network
Currently celebrating its 35th anniversary, NJ Sharing Network is the federally designated non-profit organization responsible for recovering donated organs and tissue in the Garden State. Last year, 233 generous 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. With headquarters in New Providence, NJ, the organization has been recognized by NJBIZ as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for five consecutive years.
About the Sharing Network Foundation
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.
About MTF Biologics
MTF Biologics is a global nonprofit organization that saves and heals lives by honoring donated gifts, serving patients and advancing science. It provides exceptional service, resources, and expertise to donors and their loved ones who give the gift of donation; patients who depend on tissue and organ transplants; healthcare providers who care for donors and recipients; and clinicians and scientists advancing medicine through transplantation science and research.