Rose Parade honors local organ donor

By Stefanie

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - On Thursday, a mother met the man for the first time who now carries her son's heart.

Twenty-year-old Maraleius Birdsong was shot and killed while delivering a Domino's pizza in North Charleston in March.

Birdsong's mother donated her son's organs, including his heart, kidneys pancreas, and liver, an act that has saved up to four lives. That generous spirit is being recognized on Tuesday with a decorating ceremony of a float that will be featured in the 2013 Rose Parade.

"The mother and family and friends will get to put the finishing touches on this floral portrait of her son and we will get to send her out to rose parade for her to see it on the Donate Life float," said Mark Johnson, media relations director at LifePoint.

Birdsong will be honored by the organ donation groups, LifePoint and Donate Life South Carolina. The artistic floral portrait, known as a floragraph, will be featured on the Donate Life Rose Parade float. Birdsong is one of just 72 people to be honored and only the 5th from South Carolina.

"First time a donor in Charleston will be honored this way," Johnson said.

The decorating ceremony for the floragraph will be held at 3950 Faber Place Drive off Leeds Avenue starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday.