Does this face look familiar? Kara Thio’s photograph appears on many donation materials here in North Carolina, including those available at the DMV. Kara was born without a bile duct. She received a liver transplant at the tender age of 8 months. After her transplant, Kara faced numerous medical challenges but with the support of medical professionals and her family, Kara overcame those early obstacles. She is now a healthy 20-year-old college student.
Kara and her mother, Victoria Thio, have volunteered with Carolina Donor Services, one of North Carolina’s organ procurement organizations, for 17 years. They recently became Donate Life NC DMV Ambassadors for the Garner DMV driver license office. Because of her work promoting donation by sharing her personal story, Kara received the honor of riding on the 2012 Donate Life Float in the Rose Parade. Each year, individuals with personal connections to donation, such as a family member of a deceased organ, eye or tissue donor; a living organ donor; or a recipient of an organ, tissue or cornea transplant, are selected to either ride the float during the parade or by creating a floragraph that is featured on the float. Floragraphs are portraits created with flowers that honor a donor. Joining 27 other individuals touched by donation or transplantation, Kara was North Carolina's representative in the Rose Parade on the Donate Life Float in Pasadena, California in 2012. The 2012 Donate Life’s Float theme: “…One More Day.” is especially fitting because families of organ and tissue donors, living donors, and transplant recipients know intimately the preciousness of each day.