10-year-old girl whose death saved lives is celebrated year after year

Local News

FRESNO, California (KSEE) – In 2019, Francine Salazar died in a tragic accident when a driver blew through a stop sign and slammed into her family’s van.  Francine’s family turned their grief into helping others by donating her organs to save four lives.

“Francine’s changed the world in her ten years.  She’s made a difference for generations and people throughout the world,” said Beverly Hayden-Pugh, the Senior Vice President, Valley Children’s hospital.

Valley Children’s and Donor Network West continue to keep her legacy alive through events like an honor walk in 2019 and including a floral sculpture of Francine in the Donate Life Rose Parades annually.  Tuesday, Francine’s image was unveiled from the 2021 Parade and is put on display at Valley Children’s.

“We are excited to be able to share her floragraph with the Central Valley community on this very special day.  Francine’s floragraph will be displayed in the Guild Hall of Fame throughout the entire month of August,” said Marcella Corona, the Multicultural Initiatives Program Manager at Donor Network West.

Francine’s parents cut the ribbon on the display and shared some words with those in attendance at the memorial.

“Today is the two-year death of Francine — above all, we are grateful that our daughter’s legacy is still remembered and honored.  My daughter Francine was a ten-year-old beautiful, bright, generous soul,” said Francine’s mother, Hanah Yalung-Blakely.

She also shared a light-hearted letter from a best friend of Francine’s.

“She said, Dear Francine, just wanted you to know how much I miss you, I will always remember you stealing my Nutella sandwiches at school — she loves Nutella.  I remember your sweet smile.”

August is also National Multiethnic Donor awareness month.  Francine’s pancreas went to a 40-year-old woman and her heart and kidneys were able to give life to other children.

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