Five-year-old organ donor to be honored in Rose Parade

By Ashley Nix

JASPER, AL (WBRC) - One precocious little girl's decision has saved the lives of five people and her life will be honored New Year's Day in the Tournament of Roses Parade on the Donate Life float.

Almost four years ago, Savannah Sides, a five-year-old from Jasper, said something her mother, Sandy, will never forget.

"Savannah came into the computer room and said, 'Mom, what are you doing?' I said 'I'm signing me, and Bubba and Sissy and Daddy up to be organ donors' and she said, 'Well I want to do that."

Sandy said she sat her daughter her lap and explained what organ donation was all about.

"And she looked at me with just the most serious look and said, 'Mom, I'm not going to need it when I go to heaven… you need to sign me up.' It was like she knew it was coming."

Sadly, one mother later little Savannah died in a car accident, however her decision to be an organ donor ended up saving the lives of five people, including a then 18-month-old girl, Alexis, who needed a liver transplant. Now five-years-old, the Sides family keeps in close contact with Alexis and will talk to her this Christmas.

"Getting to play with her and run and play and the way she took to us was just a wonderful, wonderful experience," Stephen Sides, Savannah's father said.

Along with five others from the state of Alabama, Savannah's name will appear on the float in the nationally televised parade. Her parents say they are overwhelmed, but know the painful tragedy has changed their lives forever.

"Typical 5-year-olds don't ask to be an organ donor," Sandy said. "She touched a lot of lives and we didn't know until she was gone."

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