Giver of Life

Yukon couple’s daughter to be honored on LifeShare's Rose Parade Float


By Conrad Dudderar

Associate Editor

The daughter of a Yukon couple will be honored as a life-giver in the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year’s Day.

LifeShare of Oklahoma will recognize Eva Young, daughter of Yukon’s Royce and Keri Young, as their floragraph honoree representing Oklahoma in the Donate Life Rose Parade Float during the 131st Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif.

Jeffrey Orlowski (right), president and chief executive officer of LifeShare of Oklahoma, with the family of Royce and Keri Young during a Floragraph Honoree Ceremony on Dec. 5 at Covenant Community Church, 2250 S Yukon Parkway. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

The Yukon family has garnered national attention for their decision to continue their pregnancy in hopes of offering others life.

“Eva was born April 16, 2017,” said Heather Dean, public relations coordinator for LifeShare. “She became a donor that day.”

Eva Young will be honored Jan. 1, 2020 on the Donate Life Float as a tissue donor in a floragraph. A floragraph is a portrait of the donor, created with floral materials such as seeds, grains, spices, dried flowers, and other organic materials.

“We are thankful to have the opportunity to honor Eva Young at the Rose Parade this year as she represents the beauty that can come from donation,” said Jeffrey Orlowski, president and chief executive officer of LifeShare of Oklahoma.

LifeShare officials encourage everyone across the state to tune-in to watch on New Year’s Day.

“With a U.S. television audience in the tens of millions and a worldwide audience in the hundreds of millions, these individuals will not only be representing the importance of donation, they will serve as representatives of Oklahoma and the approximately 700 citizens of the state who are waiting on a lifesaving transplant,” Orlowski said.

Eva Young will be featured among 44 memorial floral portraits, honoring the gift of life and light given by organ, eye and tissue donors. Seated on or walking alongside the Donate Life Rose Parade Float will be 26 organ, eye and tissue recipients or living donors.

As a sponsor, LifeShare is able to send one recipient to ride the float and one donor portrait to be honored on the float.

The 2020 float shares the Power of Hope by highlighting Southeast Asia’s Festival of Lights, a celebration of light shining in darkness.

A Floragraph Honoree Ceremony was Thursday, Dec. 5 at Covenant Community Church, 2250 S Yukon Parkway.

During a routine 19-week ultrasound, a doctor discovered that Royce and Keri Young’s daughter was growing, developing, and kicking – but without a significant portion of her brain – and wouldn’t survive long after delivery.

The Youngs were told the baby had anencephaly, a condition that was “incompatible with life”.

Within a few minutes of hearing this news, the Youngs asked the doctors about organ donation. The doctor sent them home for 48 hours to decide what they were going to do.

Their options were to terminate the pregnancy or continue the pregnancy to term with the intent of donating the baby’s organs.

The family decided to continue the pregnancy, and chose to name their daughter “Eva Grace”, which means giver of life.

Their original mission was simple: Get Eva to full-term, welcome her into this world, and let her give the gift of life to some other hurting family.

However, after a 4D ultrasound, the Young family became more excited for the life Eva would have, carrying on her legacy and celebrating the short time she had alive. They were thrilled thinking about the legacy their little girl would leave behind, and another family Eva would help.

At 37 weeks, Keri went to the hospital after she was not feeling Eva’s usual movements. The doctors could not find a heartbeat. The Young family was devastated to learn baby Eva’s heart had stopped beating. They learned that because of that, their daughter would not be able to be an organ donor.

They continued with their birth plan and spent time together as a family, cherishing their last moments with Eva. A few minutes after she was delivered, their phone rang with news that Eva could donate her eyes.

The Young family was so excited to hear this news and celebrated the grace that they had been given in that moment. It was a true moment of grace learning that Eva would be able to restore sight to others.

Eva’s story has made an incredible impact on the Young Family. Although the Young’s miss Eva daily, they cannot deny the significance of her tiny life and her effect on the world.