Graniteville veteran will represent Donate Life in Rose Parade

Bill Bourbeau will ride Donate Life Rose Parade Float at the 130th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California

Graniteville veteran will represent Donate Life in Rose Parade
A Graniteville veteran will be in the 130th Rose Parade on the Donate Life Float. (Anderson, Jasmine)

NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WFXG) - Employees at North Augusta’s DMV register vehicles - and work hard to register potential life savers - asking each customer if they’d like to be an organ donor.

Every time this bell dings it means someone’s signed up to save a life. Bill Bourbeau knows first hand. A tissue transplant back in 2014 literally saved his skin.

"I couldn't believe there was a truck laying on top of me."

Scalding hot chemicals leaked from an SUV that crashed into his truck. Crushed inside his vehicle, he was forced to crawl out of a small space in his window.

He was treated and later discharged from a local hospital.

“By that night, my skin was all blistered up and turning colors and things. So, we went right to the emergency room in the morning. And they’re like 'we need to do some skin grafts," said Bourbeau.

Bill underwent three different tissue graft procedures using donor tissue from his right shoulder to below his elbow.

He and his wife, Patti, a DMV branch manager - are appreciative - and are advocates for awareness and donations.

“Had I not had that tissue, who knows what would have happened. I could have had infections, I’d have a lot worse scarring. I could have lost some muscle tissues probably, as the infections got worse," Bourbeau said.

Bill and dozens of others who got that gift of life will be featured with the Donate Life Rose Parade float - which is celebrating its 16th year in that annual parade - and you can watch it on New Year’s Day.

Right now, more than 1,000 South Carolina residents are on the transplant waiting list. About five times that many Georgians are on the national patient waiting list, and there’s a critical need for donors. Every 10 minutes someone’s added to that list.

CLICK HERE to learn how you can register as an organ, eye and tissue donor.

Copyright 2018 WFXG. All rights reserved.