Las Vegas man to ride in Rose Parade to celebrate new heart, kidney received in 2022

Published: Dec. 31, 2022 at 5:04 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - For a former Nevada Correctional Officer and Navy and Air Force Veteran, 2022 was a life-changing and life-saving year. On New Year’s Day, he will ride on a float in the Rose Parade to celebrate the gift of life he was given: a new heart and new kidney.

Marcus Roberts, 43, was an athlete most of his life and now has a new passion for painting something he picked up when his body began to fail. In 2015, he was a Correctional Officer at High Desert State Prison in Indian Springs just outside Las Vegas and a youth football coach when he started feeling sluggish and quickly continued to decline. When he went in to try to figure out why, he shocked by what doctors told him.

“They diagnosed me with heart failure and acute kidney failure,” Roberts recounted.

During a stress test, his own mom had to perform CPR when his heart failed.

“I actually had become unresponsive after the test sitting in a wheelchair in the cafeteria,” Roberts explained. That was only the first time his heart would stop. It would become so common he almost grew used to it.

“Fifteen, sixteen times... It just would come out of the blue. There were times I would pass out and my significant other would find me on the floor,” Roberts shared.

Roberts began to lose hope believing the next time his heart stopped, it would not start again. Everything changed with one phone call five years after his health struggles began.

“Everybody that was in the room, probably about four or five different nurses and a technician listened to the phone call on speaker phone, and everybody started crying,” Roberts remembered.

To celebrate his successful double organ transplant in 2022, Roberts will ring in 2023 riding on the Donate Life float in the Rose Parade.

“It took about four or five months to hit me that I actually had a second chance at life,” Roberts revealed. He knows a family lost a love one to make his new lease on life possible and he’s never gotten to know who they are or say thank you. He hopes by riding on the float, families who have made that choice to donate will take comfort they’ve saved people like him.

“I am right as rain... My last adventure was to Disneyland and I spent a 10-hour day there, so it’s night and day. It’s amazing,” Roberts beamed. Roberts told FOX5 he is both nervous and excited for the parade Monday in Pasadena.

Right now, there are more than 100,000 men, women and children on the transplant waiting list.

The Nevada Donor Network is also honoring local donor heroes on the Donate Life float including late Nevada State Trooper and organ donor Micah May.