Family’s tragic loss blooms into gift of life

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) What better way to ring in the New Year than with the gift of life? But one local family, is remembering the life of their late daughter in a special way.

The Lovegrove Family, Donate Life

As many of us watched the Rose Parade from the comfort of our couches today, the Lovegroves were in California.

The parade theme this year was special: Making A Difference.

They were invited to the Rose Parade in California where their daughter Grace, was a special part of one of the floats.

“You always worry about, someone that has died and has gone on, after a while people forget them. It’s sort of hard to forget her,” Lisa Lovegrove said, Grace’s mother.

Grace died nearly 13 years ago, in January of 2005, while running at Christopher Newport University. Her brother, only 12 at the time, is now researching how to prevent sudden cardiac death in high school athletes.

“Definitely it’s where my interests stems from. That’s kind of how I had heard of it before, and why, how I saw how important it was, it definitely has impacts on families because it impacted my family,” Spencer Lovegrove said.

And this year, Grace’s story was chosen by Donate Life to be featured in the Rose Parade. Her father, Rick, wrote the application essay. Her mother, Lisa, says she knows exactly why her daughter’s story stood out.

“On her driver’s license, her learners permit had marked the donate life,” Lisa said. “She even had stickers on her wonderful wooden doors, she had glued organ donor stickers it said…” and Lisa’s husband Rick finished, “Recycle yourself, donate your organs.”

Her organs saved four other lives. And her photo, turned into this floorgraph, floated down the California streets.

Her memory not soon forgotten.

“She was just so full of life. It’s hard to forget her.”

Life Net Health works with health care providers and families on organ donation and education. Robbie Key, with Life Net, says 160,000 people are currently on a waiting list for organs in the U.S.

Key says 22 people die every day, and in Virginia, 3,000 people are on that waiting list. Four to five people die every week.

For more information on how to become a donor, visit or

If you’d like to read Rick Lovegrove’s full application essay for the Donate Life Float in year’s Rose Parade, head to this website: .