A LIVING LEGACY
- ELIOT, Maine — Members of the Pappas family — father John, mother Mary and daughter Rayna — stood over the floragraph of their late son Troy, sprinkling the final touches of coffee grounds on to the eyebrows.
By Jesse Scardina
Posted Dec. 9, 2014 @ 7:29 pm
Updated at 10:28 AM
ELIOT, Maine — Members of the Pappas family — father John, mother Mary and daughter Rayna — stood over the floragraph of their late son Troy, sprinkling the final touches of coffee grounds on to the eyebrows.
“He loved coffee. He really loved coffee,” Rayna, Troy’s sister said. “He started drinking it when he was 10 years old.”
The three family members were gathered in their living room on a stormy Tuesday evening with about 30 of their close family members and friends, honoring the life of their son, a standout student athlete at Marshwood High School and Bates College student, who died in 2012 after falling three floors down a stairwell during his freshman year. He died on Oct. 5, 2012 of head trauma.
In death, Pappas saved the lives of six others through organ and limb transplants, including a hand transplant, and his memory will be commemorated at the New Year’s Day Tournament of Roses Parade, as one of 72 honorees adorning the Donate Life float in the annual parade.
Tuesday evening was the first time the Pappas family saw the living portrait of their son, wearing a Bates football jersey and broad smile. The aforementioned coffee grounds were used to accent his hair and his eyebrows, while crushed red flowers colored the jersey, and other organic material compiled the living image of their late son.
“We’re honored to be able to tell the nation of Troy’s remarkable story through the parade,” said Laura Dempsey, the communications and development coordinator of the New England Organ Bank, which sponsored the Pappas family to be able to attend the event. “What can be more inspiring than the legacy of an organ donor?”
Troy Pappas had both lungs, kidneys, his liver, pancreas and his hand removed and transplanted into recipients, a couple of whom the Pappas family have contacted and formed friendships with.
But Tuesday, the family was reflecting with close friends.
“Thank you for never stopping supporting us,” said Mary Pappas. “It’s been two years and two months and it still feels like it happened yesterday — it always will. I can’t say enough about your friendship and love. It has been so good to us.”
The living portrait of Pappas will be one of two from New England — and the only from Maine — included in the group with the other 71 honorees. The float will also be decorated with 60 butterflies — one for each life an organ donor could save — and representatives sitting on it are surviving transplant recipients, while those walking along the float are successful donors.
If you are interested in becoming an organ donor, you can do so by signing up at the Donate Life New England website.
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