Stanford 'miracle' patient ready to honor his 3 organ donors while riding 2024 Rose Parade float

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Sunday, December 31, 2023
Stanford 'miracle' patient ready to ride 2024 Rose Parade float
Joseph Sanchez, a 19-year-old three-time organ transplant recipient, is ready to be honored at the 2024 Rose Parade on Stanford Children's float.

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (KGO) -- The Rose Parade is a New Year tradition and is highlighted by spectacular floats.

A 19-year-old Bay Area man, who has beaten the odds, is going to get the opportunity of a lifetime to ride on one of those floats.

His story, truly amazing.

"I had tears yesterday, it's just so amazing," said San Leandro resident Elena Munoz.

She is talking about her behind-the-scene look at Rose Parade preparations.

RELATED: Bay Area teen who beat odds after 3 separate organ transplants to be honored at Rose Parade

A San Leandro teen who is three-time organ transplant recipient is being honored by Stanford Children's Hospital, and riding in the Rose Parade.

"You see every detail. Everyone working on it has a story. It's just been amazing," Munoz said.

Her son Joseph Sanchez is the recipient of three separate organ transplants and selected as Stanford Children's Hospital's honoree to ride in its float.

"It's just so amazing seeing and witnessing the donor family being able to put their loved ones picture that looks so real on the float. I just started crying. It just made me feel like, wow, what all these donor angels mean to the world," Elena said.

Sanchez -- affectionately called "Joe Joe" by hospital staff and surgeons is often referred to as a "miracle" patient, and he says he's excited to represent.

"Like, I'm happy and decorated and very proud to be riding on the float," Sanchez said.

RELATED: Bay Area teen beats odds after 3 separate organ transplants in different parts of his life

A San Leandro teen is beating the odds receiving three separate organ transplants at different points in his life. And most recently, a new heart.

At just seven months old Sanchez was diagnosed with cancer. A liver transplant soon followed. Seven years later, a new kidney. And this year, a new heart.

And now, he's ready to rock the Rose Parade.

"I'm going to be waving like this, and then snapping like this, and then like this dancing," he said.

"If Joe Joe's story touches even just one, that's what we're here to do," said Stephanie Ruvalcaba from Donor Network West.

Donor Network West works to connect organ donors and recipients and to educate the public.

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"We want to break down myths and misconceptions and barriers around organ donation and what it really means when you check off that box and get a pink dot on your license," Ruvalcaba said.

Meanwhile Munoz and Sanchez are honoring his three donors by placing a rose on the float.

"It was just so beautiful to be able to do that for them to honor them with a rose," Munoz said.

"And means a lot for me to put it in and decorate it," Sanchez said.

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For Sanchez, this rose is his way of keeping the memory of his donors alive.

"So other people can see I gave them life with the rose," Sanchez said.

"That's beautiful, Joseph, to want to give them life," Sanchez said.

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