Iowa Donors Honored in 2020 Rose Parade

Rose Parade Float
Iowa Donors Honored in 2020 Rose Parade
Every Life Has a Story

Doug Stewart
September 25, 1964 – February 26, 2017

Douglas Stewart from Muscatine, Iowa died on February 26, 2017 at the age of 52.  But he might have died 16 years earlier were it not for a very special gift he received--twice—the gift of life. Doug was only 36 years old, and the father of four young children, when he was first told he would need a liver transplant. Unfortunately, the first transplant failed, and he underwent a second liver transplant just 2 years later.

Rosy Eichelberger, Doug’s sister-in-law, spoke at Iowa Lions Eye Bank’s Celebration of Hope & Renewal in 2017, saying, “Those extra 16 years were not lived as if there was a countdown, they were just lived.” She explained how Doug and his family celebrated numerous birthdays, graduations, weddings, holidays, vacations, and just plain lazy days over the course of those gifted years. Doug thanked his donor families every night in prayer and took every opportunity to talk about how his life was saved by the gifts he was given. Doug became a vital member of Team Iowa; a group of recipients and living donors who compete every other year in the Transplant Games of America, raising awareness for organ, eye and tissue donation. 

“Doug passed away suddenly. We were not ready for it, but we knew that we wanted to not only be the recipient of a life-changing great gift; we wanted to be the givers now. Doug always said that when he died, we were supposed to, in his words, ‘Let them take anything they can use.’” Doug was able to donate his eyes to the Iowa Lions Eye Bank for vital research. Doug’s gift will ultimately affect countless individuals in the future.

The Iowa Lions Eye Bank was honored to assist in fulfilling Doug’s legacy through eye donation at the time of his death. We congratulate the entire Stewart family for this special tribute to their loved one!

Mike Nelson
August 5, 1969 – September 6, 2016

In May of 2017, at our annual Celebration of Hope & Renewal, the staff of the Iowa Lions Eye Bank dedicated a commemorative paver in the pathway of the Iowa Lions Donor Memorial & Healing Garden at UIHC to honor Mike Nelson’s life and legacy. Mike’s wife Michelle shared some thoughts and memories of Mike for the dedication that day:

“Mike loved how going to work each day not only enhanced his life, but the lives of so many, through the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation...Mike will always be remembered as a team lead, a co-worker, a friend, a shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to who would just listen intently….but to us, his family, he was a son, a dad, a husband and just ‘Nelson.’  We remember that big contagious smile of his, along with the twinkle in his bright blue eyes, and the ever-present shade of pink on his face…We miss him every second of every minute of every day, but we know his work and lessons will forever be a part of our lives. As a legacy to Mike, we ask each of you to always remember to treat everyone with respect and to always be kind to everyone.” 

Mike's floragraph was featured on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float.  Mike passed away in 2016 at the age of 47 and enhanced the lives of others through tissue and cornea donation.  Mike’s recipients range in age from 74 to a baby under the age of one. At the time of his passing, Mike worked as a Tissue Recovery Coordinator for Iowa Donor Network.

Katherine Nicole Mosher
March 18, 1991 – January 25, 2012

The Iowa Lions Eye Bank would also like to recognize the family of Katherine “Kayte” Mosher as she was honored in a floragraph displayed on the award winning 2020 Donate Life Rose Parade float, “Light in the Darkness.”   

Kayte Mosher died suddenly and without warning on January 25, 2012 after suffering a brain aneurysm—just 2 months shy of her 21st birthday.

At only 20 years of age, Kayte had her whole life ahead of her. She loved adventure and lived each day to the fullest. Her sister Heather recalls that Kayte once told her, “I live life in excess. I want to make the most of my time here and spend it with the people I love.”

Katye’s family knew from conversations with her that she wanted to be a donor, and she had also designated it on her Iowa driver’s license. She was one of the most giving people they knew and loved, so it was only fitting that in death, she would continue to give to others through cornea and tissue donation. Knowing that Kayte was able to help so many people has brought great comfort to their family. In a letter written to both of Kayte’s cornea recipients, Heather stated, “Donation is always referred to as the gift of life for recipients, but it has also been an incredible gift to those of us left behind. We know that Kayte’s ripple effect on this world did not end when she died—it continues on, even today, through the people she helped…and through her beautiful eyes, two people can now see the world in clearer view.”