The memory of Joseph “Joey” C. Savage IV will be honored in the 2023 Rose Parade on Monday, Jan. 2 in Pasadena, Calif.
Family and friends of Savage, an organ and tissue donor, recently gathered at NJ Sharing Network for the unveiling of a floragraph memorial portrait that will be featured on the 2023 Donate Life Rose Parade float.
He died in a car accident Oct. 17, 2017.
The float will be adorned with 44 memorial floragraphs, representing Savage 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 co-sponsoring Savage’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 to save and enhance lives with the powerful message of organ and tissue donation.
Savage 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 enhanced the lives of 126 people.
“Joey was always full of life and energy,” said his mother, Heather Prutzman. “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, Prutzman 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, she underwent a successful spine surgery that included two pieces of her son’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,’ “ she said.
After her son died, she met Jim McLoughlin of Spring Lake, the recipient of his heart.
As she listened to his heartbeat, she whispered, “I love you buddy always and forever.”
McLoughlin also attended 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,” he said. “As my children say, Joey is my guardian angel incarnated.”
According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), more than 100,000 Americans, including nearly 4,000 in New Jersey, waiting for a life-saving transplant.
One organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of more than 75 others.
“Joey was always full of life and energy. Everyone simply loved to be around him because he cared for others and had a joyful, larger-than-life personality.” - Heather Prutzman, mother of Joseph “Joey” C. Savage IV