2020 Donate Life Rose Parade Float – Light in the Darkness

On New Year’s Day, Gladys Gonzalez of El Paso will represent Donate Life Texas on the Donate Life Rose Parade Float in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.  Tune in to watch January 1st, 10 a.m. CST on ABC, NBC, Univision, HGTV, or the Hallmark Channel.


Living Life

Gladys Gonzalez has always been an outgoing and energetic individual.  She is very involved in her community with organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boys and Girls Club, the El Paso Chamber of Commerce and others. When Gladys isn’t working or volunteering her free time to her community, she loves to spend time with her family, listen to music while reading the lyrics and working out.


Life is Sweeter with Cake
Gladys was a diabetic since she was 10 years old. During her adolescence, all she wanted was to be normal.

             All I wanted was to enjoy a piece of cake at the birthday party, like the rest of the kids.   — Gladys Gonzalez

When she got to high school, she wanted to be able to run with her cross-country peers and not have to worry about her sugar dropping in the middle of the workout. She learned at a very young age that shots and poked fingers were going to be part of life, and they were. She had to check her sugar and give herself insulin shots between 3 and 5 times per day and watch her diet daily.

Life after her transplant has allowed her to live a diabetes-free life, and now, Gladys can enjoy that piece of cake.


The Gift
In her mid-20’s, she noticed that her ankles were getting swollen. After seeing her doctor, she found out that her kidneys were starting to fail. She started taking medication to slow down the deterioration of her kidneys.  By her late 20’s she had to start dialysis and the process to get on the transplant list for a kidney. Her doctors knew it would be much better for her and her new kidney if she also received a pancreas. On March 25, 2014, Gladys received her new kidney and pancreas, which transformed her life.

After 20 years of shots and 2 years of dialysis, Gladys is now healthier than ever.

          I am living a second life and I celebrate my “re-birth” every 25th of March.   — Gladys Gonzalez

Her energy and gratefulness for the second chance has driven Gladys to volunteer her time with various local associations including Southwest Transplant Alliance and Donate Life Texas. She works out 4-6 times a week and still watches what she eats.

          I can now enjoy that piece of cake without the worry of a sugar spike!   — Gladys Gonzalez

Her new life would have not been possible without the amazing gift she received. Gladys honors her donor and her donor’s family daily by taking care of the precious gift they kindly gave her.  Since 2014, Gladys dedicates her time sharing her story in her community.  She also volunteers her time with Southwest Transplant Alliance in El Paso, Texas.  Gladys is so appreciative of her donor and her donor’s family and would love to meet them one day.


Enjoy a short video of Gladys: