PASADENA (CBS) — It’s a simple gesture, but a wave means the world to 26-year-old Emily Fennell.

“Its changed my world so much and it’s only going to change my world so much more,” Fennell told CBS2’s Kristine Lazar.

As the 13th person in the U.S. to receive a hand transplant, Fennell is expected to ride in the Donate Life float in Monday’s Rose Parade.

“At first, it was a little weird. At first I referred to it as ‘The Hand’ but as I’ve had it longer, and I’m able to use it more, I’m getting more used to it being my hand,” she explained.

Back in March during a 14-hour procedure, doctors at Ronald Reagen-UCLA Medical Center attached the donor hand.

Fennell lost her right hand after a rollover car accident nearly six years ago.

“People, I don’t think realize, that organ donation not only saves lives, but it changes lives too,” Fennell said.

This year’s theme for the Donate Life float is “Just Imagine One More Day” and it features clocks to remind parade viewers that time is precious.

Donate Life’s goal is to make organ and tissue donation as commonplace as giving blood and Fennell hopes with a smile and a wave, millions will see what a gift organ donation is.


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