State’s only hand donor honored in Rose Parade


FREMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — Shayna Sturtevant saved the lives of three people through organ donation, and she became the only person in Michigan to donate a hand.

“She was 18 when we talked about being a donor, and her words were ‘Wouldn’t that be amazing to save a life?'” her mother Debra Wyant recalled. “Life without her is pretty tough.”

Now, along with 43 others, Sturtevant’s “floragraph” portrait will be featured on the Donate Life float in the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1.

“The holidays are so hard, missing a loved one,” Wyant said Thursday. “But Gift of Life has given me so many opportunities to honor my angel and it’s amazing to get to go to Pasadena and watch her be on the float.”

The picture made of bird seed and coffee grounds was made in California, and then sent to the family to add the finishing touch: one of the eyebrows. Now that the piece is finished, the family will send it back to Pasadena to be added to the float.

Sturtevant died in 2016 at the age of 21 following complications from an infection in her ear that spread to her brain.

“I believe she was the 21st hand transplant in the United States and the first in Michigan,” Wyant said. “When they asked me about it, I was just like, ‘You want her what?'”

But she knew what her daughter would want.

“Shayna would want someone else to be able to hold her child because she’s not able to do that anymore,” she said. “I knew immediately that her answer would be, ‘Yes, Mom, give them my hands.'”

Honoring Sturtevant in the Rose Parade will be another way Wyant and the rest of her family can continue to heal.

“She was my angel, she was the light of my life, ” Wyant said. “It helps in my healing so much, just to know that the world’s going to know what my daughter did and she’s never going to be forgotten.”

You can add your name to the Michigan Organ Registry online.

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