NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — A New Orleans native and Xavier University graduate will be honored posthumously in the 2023 Rose Parade for giving the gift of life through organ donation.

This year, the parade’s theme is “Turning the Corner” — fitting for someone like Lionel Brazile Jr., a man who spent his life as a notable mathematician and artist and, at the end of his life, helped his brother-in-law turn the corner into a life enhanced by a kidney donation.

When Lionel died in 1997 at the age of 37 from a brain aneurysm, his brother-in-law, Roderick McGee, had been on a waitlist for a new kidney. It wasn’t until after Lionel’s death that doctors determined that he was a perfect match for Roderick.

Roderick was one of five organ recipients who underwent life-enhancing, and in some cases, life-saving procedures due to Lionel’s generosity. In less than three weeks, that generosity will be magnified on a national scale.

Last week, Roderick’s wife Cheryl completed a floral portrait (“floragraph”) in memory of her brother’s life and the lives he saved. As an employee at the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, Cheryl put the finishing touches on the portrait, which will be on display above the Donate Life Rose Parade float in California.

The parade kicks off on Monday, January 2, 2023, at 12 p.m. CST.

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