It’s Kismet – Their Life Together Was Destined

| November 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

I recently learned of the “coming together” of two Mission Hills residents. He is an ex-football star and she was a fan who only watched him from the stadium stands. Though they lived worlds apart, eventually she would save his life. I am referring to John and Diane Brockington who will be sharing more of their story this coming January during the Rose Parade.

John and Diane Brockington invite San Diegans to become organ donors. John is a kidney transplant survivor, thanks to Diane.

John and Diane Brockington invite San Diegans to become organ donors. John is a kidney transplant survivor, thanks to Diane.

This past month, Donate Life America announced that it will host John and Diane Brockington on the upcoming Donate Life Rose Parade Float. Diane Brockington, a living kidney donor to her now-husband John Brockington, will walk alongside the Donate Life Float among the twelve generous yet otherwise ordinary people who donated a kidney so that others could live. John Brockington will ride aboard the float with thirty fortunate recipients of organ and tissue transplants. Together, the Brockingtons will share their amazing “Never-Ending Story” on New Year’s Day through their participation in this year’s float.

An All-American running back at Ohio State, Brockington was a part of the Super Sophomores who won the National Championship in the 1969 Rose Bowl, returning again in 1971. He wasted little time proving himself worthy of the Green Bay Packers’ first pick in the 1971 NFL draft. After posting an NFL rookie rushing record 1,105 yards in 1971–while at the same time nabbing All-Pro and NFC Rookie of the Year honors–Brockington went on to become the first running back in NFL history to surpass 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons. In just his second year, Brockington helped carry the Packers to the NFC Central Division championship, something they wouldn’t do again until 1995. A three-time Pro Bowler, Brockington was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1984.

After moving to San Diego, Brockington became friends with long time Packer fan, Diane Scott. When John suffered kidney failure in 2000, Diane and her daughter Jessica offered to become his donor. In an amazing example of matching that defied ethnicity and size, the 5’2” donor was able to offer her smaller kidney to her 6’1” friend the week after Thanksgiving in 2001. Thirteen years later, the kidney is still performing like a champ, proving that the two are a perfect match.

After returning to health, John asked Diane to marry him, and now as husband and wife they direct the John Brockington Foundation to increase organ, eye and tissue donation and raise funds for people on dialysis awaiting a transplant.

“I think the label ‘hero’ is inappropriate,” said Diane Brockington, referring to herself as a living kidney donor. “If the Rose Parade does nothing else, it should illustrate that ordinary friends and strangers can do extraordinary good through the achievable act of living donation.”

Although a kidney recipient, John Brockington has also witnessed the impact tissue donation can have on the lives of athletes. “Tissue donation returns thousands of athletes to the field at all levels of the game,” said Brockington. “Not only that, but it has allowed millions more to live normal, everyday lives and pursue activities that many of us take for granted.”

The 12th Annual Donate Life Rose Parade float, called The Never-Ending Story, will feature butterflies emerging from storybooks to symbolize the enduring power of organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. The Donate Life float and its honored participants are the centerpiece of a national campaign that leads up to the 2015 Rose Parade, themed “Inspiring Stories.”
Diane also shared that California has the highest number on the transplant list by number and percentage, yet is among the lowest five states for organ donor registration. One in three walk out of the DMV without registering. That’s why living donation is the only solution: almost 90 percentage on the list wait for a kidney. Diane knows, we all have a spare to share.

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