SAN DIEGO – A nonprofit dedicated to adding the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue won the 2023 Rose Parade’s top award for a float that features fellow San Diegans, announced “Lifesharing,” a sponsor of the nonprofit.

The float by Donate Life was awarded the sweepstakes trophy also known as the “Most Beautiful Entry” award, which encompasses float design, floral presentation and entertainment, according to the winners’ list by the Rose Parade.

One San Diegan, San Diego Fire-Rescue Captain Robin Cervantes, was featured posthumously with a floral portrait of the dragon depicting float.

Cervantes was an organ donor, and his daughter spoke to “Lifesharing,” a local organ donation group, during the setup of the float.

“I’m so proud of him, I really am. What I realize now, that I didn’t realize then, is that he was really the glue to our family,” said Monique Pascucci, Cervantes’ daughter. “And I never saw that until now that you realize you don’t have that anymore. He is definitely missed by everyone.” 

Another San Diegan featured on the float was Xavier McLeod, a volunteer and kidney transplant recipient, who got to ride on the float, according to “Lifesharing.”

The float was built by “Fiesta Parade Floats,” an organization based in Irwindale.

According to the 2023 Rose Parade list of winners, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance also participated in the parade.

It won the “Most Outstanding Use of Animation” award.