Late Dayton Flyers center McElvene to be honored on Donate Life float during Rose Bowl Parade

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

Credit: David Jablonski - Staff Writer

McElvene’s tissue donation helped heal more than 75 people

Late Dayton Flyers center Steve McElvene’s likeness will be featured on the Donate Life float in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Tuesday.

Since 2004, the float has served as a memorial for organ and tissue donors.

McElvene, who died on May 12, 2016, at 20 of cardiomyopathy at his home in Fort Wayne, Ind., is one of the 2019 Floragraph honorees. He's one of 44 deceased donors who will be honored on the float. A floragraph is a portrait "created with organic materials such as spices, seeds and flowers." There will also be eight living donors walking with the float and 16 organ recipients riding the float.

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The Rose Bowl Parade begins at 11 a.m and will be televised on ABC. The Donate Life Float is the eighth float in the parade so will be featured early in the event.

Jenell Shoals, McElvene's mom, helped decorate the float in California on Monday and shared photos of it on Facebook. According to, McElvene's tissue donation — skin grafts, bone grafts, and vein — healed more than 75 people.

Shoals told the Donate Life organization her son registered to be an organ and tissue donor the day before he died while visiting the Bureau of Motor Vehicles with her, and his donation inspired his two teenage brothers,  Trayshawn and Escarvar, to register.

“He’s still alive, living through other people,” Shoals told

» RELATED: Flyers keep McElvene’s memory alive

McElvene's memory was also honored in November with a youth basketball tournament in Fort Wayne. More than 200 boys and girls participated in the event. Everyone wore "Give like Big Steve" T-shirts with his No. 5 on the back. His floragraph was on display at the event, and his family helped finish the portrait, according to

McElvene attended the University of Dayton for two years and played one season with the Flyers, playing a key role for a team that won a share of the Atlantic 10 regular-season championship in 2016. He owns the school record for blocked shots in a season (55) and is tied for the school record for blocks in a game (6).

McElvene’s family will be honored at halftime of Sunday’s game against Richmond at UD Arena by Life Connection of Ohio for his tissue donations.

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