Lili Ibanez, a California Department of Motor Vehicles employee, has been chosen by Donate Life California to ride aboard the organ donation group's float Friday in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses 121st Rose Parade.
Ibanez, a 43-year-old woman of Samoan descent and staffer in the DMV's Orange County office, was diagnosed with kidney failure in the summer of 2006.
She reluctantly agreed to her 17-year-old son Anthony's wish to be a donor after learning that Polynesians' organs are among the most difficult to match with donors. After testing, her son was found to be a perfect match.
The kidney transplant took place Dec. 12, 2008. Both mother and son are doing very well, Donate Life spokesman Hector M. Barajas said Wednesday.
Ibanez returned to full-time work in March. Her son went back to college. Both are now registered organ donors, Barajas said.
PHOTO CREDIT: Lili Ibanez, courtesy of Donate Life California.