Sacramento Teen Organ & Tissue Donor Honored on Donate Life Rose Parade Float

Mother of the Donor Now “Teaches” Generosity

(Sacramento) Thirteen-year-old Marina Nicole Figueroa was a beautiful young woman who loved to do things to make people happy. Marina’s mother, Nicole, recalls, “I would leave for work – the house would be a wreck, and when I came home Marina would have the house clean, homework done, and dinner cooked. She’d say, ‘Look what I did, Mom!’ And she absolutely loved to receive recognition for making others happy.”

So Nicole believes her daughter would be thrilled to have her photograph on the Rose Bowl Donate Life float — which will be seen by millions around the world on New Year’s Day – displayed for Marina’s generous gift of life given on January 24, 2013 after she died from a brain bleed. Marina’s will be one of 60 memorial floragraphs (memorial portraits created with organic materials) placed on the Donate Life float, depicting those whose donations of organs eyes and/or tissue saved and healed those in need.

Marina saved the lives of four people through organ donation, gave sight to two others and touched countless others through her gift of tissue.

Based on those life-saving gifts, Marina’s mother is now looking to change her life’s work as a bookkeeper and become a school teacher. She has been instructing students about donation as a Donate Life Ambassador with Sierra Donor Services.

Nicole will present to a “Death and Dying” class at Sacramento City College on Tuesday, December 1st. While at the college that day, Nicole and her family will put the finishing touches on Marina’s float floragraph at 6:00 a.m., inside the Cultural Awareness Center (behind the Student Center in the middle of campus), just prior to the 9 a.m. class, and the media is invited to attend. PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU PLAN TO BE THERE.

Marina notes her daughter’s organ and tissue donation changed the course of her life.

“Marina’s donation ‘pushed’ me into public speaking. Now I’m second guessing my career path of accounting and taxes. I want to go back to college, and get teaching credentials so I can do public speaking. Marina’s giving others a second chance had the same impact on me!”

The 2016 Donate Life Rose Parade Float, Treasure Life’s Journey, features a colorful caravan. The float’s designers note. “Like an oasis discovered amidst a caravan’s journey across the desert – organ, eye and tissue donation renews hope and sustains life.”

The float is designed to inspire viewers to “Treasure Life’s Journey” by helping the nearly 123,000 in the US in need of life-saving organ transplants. One person can save up to eight lives through organ donation and touch up to 50 more through tissue donation. Register today to be an organ, eye and tissue donor through the DMV when obtaining a driver’s license or online:
2016 B-Roll footage
Floragraph B-roll

Walker B-roll

Rider B-roll

About Sierra Donor Services

Sierra Donor Services (SDS) is a nonprofit agency dedicated to meeting the needs of the community by providing families the option of organ and tissue donation for transplantation and research. SDS serves Inland Northern California, including Sacramento, ten surrounding counties, and the community of Santa Rosa, as well as Northern Nevada. As a division of the DCI Donor Services, Inc. family, SDS is one of four locations that includes: DCI Donor Services Tissue Bank, Tennessee Donor Services and New Mexico Donor Services. For more information, visit:

About Sacramento City College

Instituted in 1916, Sacramento City College is California’s seventh public community college, and the city’s oldest institution of higher learning. It serves approximately 23,500 students each semester, and is part of the Los Rios Community College District. For more information, visit: