Dignity Memorial® Honors Four Individuals Who Gave the Gift of Life Through Organ and Tissue Donation

Houston, TX - December 07, 2009

Dr. Victor Miranda spent his life caring for others—as an emergency room physician and medical entrepreneur in Houston, as a father and as a friend. On December 11, 2008, at the age of 52, Victor suffered cardiac arrest as a result of an undetected congenital heart defect.  Even in death, he was able to save lives as an organ and tissue donor. Dr. Miranda is just one of four individuals being honored by the Dignity Memorial® network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers for giving the greatest gift of all…the gift of life.  In addition to Dr. Miranda, Mary Kathleen “Kathy” Morris of Raleigh, N.C., Robert Schuppert of Denver and Virginia Camacho of San Diego will be memorialized with floragraphs—portraits made of floral and natural materials—to be decorated by family and friends in December and featured on the Donate Life float entry in the 121st Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2010 in Pasadena, Calif.

“It is a privilege for us to be able to honor these four individuals who meant so much to their family and friends and who were able to significantly impact the lives of those with the greatest need,” said Phil Jacobs, spokesperson for the Dignity Memorial provider network. “Working in the funeral industry, we believe in the importance of celebrating and honoring life and this is a wonderful opportunity to pay tribute to Victor, Kathy, Robert and Virginia and the gift of life they gave to others.”

Kathy Morris, 56, was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother who put family first and knew no sacrifice was too great when it came to their well-being.  She believed in organ donation and with the assistance of the North Carolina Eye Bank and Carolina Donor Services, she was able to give sight and life to those in desperate need.

Robert Schuppert, 24, lived life to the fullest.  He worked and played hard, he experienced true love, and he knew he was loved.  Rob donated his corneas, bone and tissue. His family knows of 13 individuals who have benefited from his gift, and feel they made the right decision to make life better for someone else.

Virginia Camacho, 41, nicknamed Jete (hee-tee), was extremely creative and talented. She had a passion for gardening and loved to grow fruits and vegetables.  Jete married her best friend, Juan, and had three children, who she adored.  She also loved dogs, especially her five dachshunds.  Her legacy lives on in the recipients of her liver and heart, as well as with her family, who she always said was her true heart.

Each of these four individuals has a life story that is unique, but they all share the same outcome: each was a donor of organs, tissue and/or corneas and made a profound difference in the lives of other people.

For more than 120 years, the Tournament of Roses Parade has been an American tradition. The Dignity Memorial network of funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers is joining Donate Life’s national campaign to celebrate and honor the lifesaving gifts of organ and tissue donation as part of Donate Life’s 2010 Rose Parade Float, New Life Rises. The float will be featured in the 121st annual Tournament of Roses Parade on Friday, January 1, 2010 in Pasadena, Calif.

New Life Rises features a phoenix–the mythical symbol of life coming out of death–rising into the sky and representing those who give life in their passing and the people whose lives are renewed by their gifts. The bird will soar high above 24 riders who are comprised of living donors and donor family members from across the U.S. Adorning the bird’s tail feathers are 76 floragraphs of deceased donors who gave life to those in need, including those representing Dr. Victor Miranda, Kathy Morris, Robert Schuppert and Virginia Camacho. In addition, donors across the country are memorialized in a garden of dedicated roses, with each rose vial carrying a personal message of love, hope and remembrance.

The Donate Life float’s riders and floragraph honorees represent millions of people touched by organ and tissue donation, including donor families, their deceased loved ones, living donors, transplant recipients and transplant candidates. Riders and floragraph honorees are individually sponsored by Official Partners, such as the Dignity Memorial network, who support the Donate Life Rose Parade float. About the Dignity Memorial® network
Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI), through its Dignity Memorial® brand, is North America’s most trusted provider of end-of-life arrangements and services. The company serves families through its Dignity Memorial network of 1,600 funeral, cremation and cemetery service providers. Dignity Memorial providers offer an unmatched combination of products and locations serving families with care, integrity, respect and service excellence.

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