VISALIA, California (KSEE) – This year, the 2021 Rose Parade is canceled because of COVID-19 restrictions – but that is not stopping organizations from creating a float to honor deceased donors from across the nation, including a 10-year old from the Central Valley.
Francine Salazar from Visalia was 10 years old when she became an organ donor. Her heart, pancreas, and both kidneys were donated after a tragic car accident took her life in 2019.
“Francine was a bright bubbly 10-year-old girl, spunky personally, she loved KPOP BTS, Blackpink. She is very loving, caring, and generous person. She was just that person who always liked to help,” said Hanah Yalung, Francine’s mom.
Francine was chosen to be honored on a float as part of the Tournament of Roses Event.
Her picture hangs along with 20 other deceased donors.
“It’s a huge honor for Francine it’s a huge honor for our family it’s mixed emotions because you are sad because she gave her life but same time she was able to save lives so it’s a huge deal for us,” said John Plakely, Francine’s father.
The 25-foot floral sculpture was created by those from Donor Network West, Donate Life, and the OneLegacy Foundation.
The float not only honors donors from across the nation, but also raises awareness of the lifesaving power of organ, eye, and tissue donation – a gesture Francine’s parents appreciate seeing in person.
“I am very happy I am very honored our family is very honored that Francine was chosen to be part in this once in a lifetime event,” Yalung added.