Donate Life’s Rose Parade float salutes late Riverside teen’s wish to donate his organs
By Imran Ghori
Thirteen-year-old Giovanni Valle was curious when he noticed a pink dot on his father’s driver’s license.
His father, Rafael Valle Sr., told his son it meant he was an organ donor and that, when he died, his organs and tissue would be given to those in need.
Giovanni said that, when he got his driver’s license, he too wanted to see his organs donated to help others get a second chance.
He didn’t know then how soon the opportunity would come.
A couple weeks later, on Nov. 12, 2014, Giovanni was killed when he was struck by a car while walking to school less than a mile from his Riverside home.
A competed floragraph of Giovanni Valle is seen Tuesday, Nov. 21, during a dedication ceremony at Riverside Community Hospital. It will be part of the Donate Life float in the 2018 Rose Parade. A couple weeks before his death, Giovanni said he wanted to be an organ donor. Photo by Stan Lim, The Press-Enterprise/SCNG
His family honored his wishes that day after he died at Riverside Community Hospital. They agreed to donate their son’s tissue and cornea to other patients.
Now, the Sierra Middle School eighth-grader’s donation is about to be honored on New Year’s Day when a floragraph featuring his likeness will be part of in the Donate Life float in the 2018 Rose Parade in Pasadena.
On Tuesday, Nov. 21, family members gathered at the downtown Riverside hospital for a presentation and completion of the floragraph.
His parents, Rafael Valle Sr. and Romana Brito, said they were honored that their son’s likeness will be in the parade.
“It’s very, very emotional,” said their daughter, Veronica Valle, Giovanni’s older sister, who translated from Spanish for the couple.
She recounted how her brother told their father that he wanted to be an organ donor “to give people a […]