WCSD Teacher, Saved by Organ Donation, Will Ride in Rose Parade

Teacher Amy CamachoInformation provided by Donor Network West

Amy Camacho, a fifth grade teacher at Van Gorder Elementary School whose life was saved with a kidney and pancreas transplant last year, has been selected to ride on the Donate Life Float at the 2018 Rose Parade for making a positive difference in her community. The announcement was made by Donor Network West, the organ procurement and tissue recovery organization for northern California and Nevada.

Amy Camacho’s positive and boundless energy is felt everywhere she goes. Though the Sparks, Nevada resident was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10, she was still able to lead an active lifestyle and attend college to fulfill her dream of becoming an educator. She has made a difference in her students’ lives as a teacher for seventeen years, the last four at Van Gorder Elementary School in Sparks where she teaches fifth graders.

In her mid-thirties, Amy’s doctor notified her that her disease had affected her kidneys to the point where she needed a transplant to survive. By then, she lacked the energy to stand in front of her class and do some of her favorite activities like going to the beach and travel. In April of 2016, after nearly five years on the national transplant waitlist, she received the Gift of Life at age 39. Her transplant inspired her to become a Donate Life Ambassador with Donor Network West to advocate for organ and tissue donation education.

“I am thrilled to be able to teach all day and still have the energy to do other activities after school. My life has changed incredibly and I am forever thankful to my donor family and hope to meet them some day to express my sincere gratitude,” says Amy.

The Rose Parade, which will take place in Pasadena, CA on January 1, 2018, will be watched by an estimated 700,000 spectators and seen by over 63 million television viewers worldwide. This parade theme, “Making a Difference,” celebrates the power of kindness and the people in our communities that are selflessly making a positive difference in our lives.

In early 2017, Amy jumped through many hoops to make her way to the Nevada Legislature to testify on why offering organ and tissue donation education in public schools should be required, taking her love of education full circle from the classroom to the Senate. Thanks in large part to her testimony, high school students in Nevada will learn more about donation before they graduate. Her students were cheering for her along the way.

The 2018 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, the Gift of Time, depicts a vibrantly colored tropical backdrop that dates back to the ancient civilizations of Mexico. It celebrates the Gift of Life as 17 transplant recipients sit against stone carvings which reflect the strength they have gained from their donors to continue and thrive on life’s journey. The float is part of a national effort of more than 50 organizations that have teamed up to highlight organ, eye and tissue donation as a way to heal lives. In addition to the 17 float riders, it will feature floral portraits honoring 44 donors while eight living donors and recipients walk alongside the float.

“Amy’s gifts of life and time have allowed her to continue to be an inspiration to her students, her community and the world,” says Cindy Siljestrom, CEO of Donor Network West. “The donation decisions made by donors and their families are making a great difference every single day.”

Nearly 600 people are waiting for an organ transplant in Nevada. One organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 75 others. Anyone can register as a donor at DonorNetworkWest.org or at the DMV.

About Donor Network West
Donor Network West saves and heals lives by facilitating organ and tissue recovery for transplantation. The organization was established in 1987, and is an official Donate Life organization accredited by the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO) and the American Association of Tissue Banks (AATB). Federally designated to serve 40 counties in northern California and Nevada, Donor Network West partners with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the state-authorized donor registries. For information, visit DonorNetworkWest.org and find us on social media: @mydnwest

Contact: Noel Sánchez, Public Affairs Manager, 925-480-3400, nsanchez@dnwest.org