Second Chance Blog


Philadelphia Family and Former Mummer Honored at 2013 Rose Bowl Parade


In July 2006, twenty-six-year-old David Nelson suffered a devastating brain aneurysm. When it was clear that he would not survive, his parents David Sr. and Patricia Nelson informed Gift of Life Donor Program that their son had already made the decision to be an organ and tissue donor, by placing the organ donor designation on his driver’s license. A Mummer with the Philadelphia-based club The Jokers NYA, David’s decision to donate inspired his family to not only honor his wishes, but maintain his legacy. His family and friends soon created the David Nelson Jr. Memorial Fund, a memorial fund which awards scholarships to children of deceased organ donors.

“Our family and friends are committed to sharing David’s compassion and desire to help others,” said Patricia Nelson, David’s mother, who has become one of Gift of Life’s most active volunteers. “We are grateful to have had him in our lives and proud to remember him by supporting the children of donor parents and encouraging others to become organ and tissue donors.”

RP2013_DonateLife_JourneysOfTheHeart_494x321On January 1, 2013, Gift of Life Donor Program will honor Patricia for her ongoing commitment to organ and tissue donation, and her son David for his life-saving and selfless gifts. Both will be represented on the 2013 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, “Journeys of the Heart” at the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA. As one of 32 riders from across the country on the Donate Life Float, Patricia will accompany a floragraph portrait of her son, among 71 other images of donors memorialized in beautifully detailed images made entirely with flowers and plants.

Over 100 friend and family of David—including parents Patricia and David Nelson, Sr. and their daughters Kaitlyn, Kyle and Alison— came together on December 10th at the Edward O’Malley Hall to put the final touches on the floragraph that will be placed on the 2013 Rose Bowl Parade. The event was filled with love and laughter as the Quaker City String Band serenaded guests. Special guests Representative William Keller and Councilman Mark Squilla spoke about their memories of David, along with their pride of the sense of family the Philadelphia community displayed towards the Nelson family.

Gift of Life Donor Program will be out in Pasadena with the Nelson family to capture their journey and to celebrate the life of David Nelson, along with all of the other donors who gave the ultimate gift of life through donation. If you are interested in learning more about the Nelson family and their Rose Parade journey, please contact Erica Vanstone, at or by calling 215-557-8090.

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2 Responses to “Philadelphia Family and Former Mummer Honored at 2013 Rose Bowl Parade”

  1. Jean Sweeney says:

    Thank you some much for donating your sons organs. His gift has helped many people to be able to have more days and Christmas. My son has receive two kidney transplants and it is families like you and people like David that makes this possible!! Thank you!!

  2. cindy mceachern says:

    Please let everyone know that when donating bone marrow…it is considered donating an organ…. they can donate an organ while still being alive and healthy ! Spread the many are needy of this kind of donation ! xoxo

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