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Organ Donor’s Family Honored At Rose Bowl

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — On average, 120 people who die in accidents are able to donate their organs to others.

As Mike Schuh reports, a Baltimore family who agreed to allow their son’s organs to be donated is being honored this year at the annual Rose Bowl Parade.

For more than a decade, the Living Legacy Foundation has put a float in the Rose Bowl parade. This year, a very special group is putting on the final touches. They are the families of those whose organs were donated to help others live. Pictures of the donors rendered in the seeds of flowers are attached to the float.

In 2008, Tyrone Bowie was killed in Baltimore. His kidneys, lungs, liver and pancreas helped save four lives. Now his mom, Evette Johnson, and family get to see a picture of Tyrone that’s nearly ready to be sent to join the float in California.

“Oh, that is beautiful,” she said. “It does look like him.”

The artists left a little bit for the family to finish.

“Look at my baby; he’s coming back to life,” Johnson said.

Nothing will bring back Tyrone, but the picture and the Living Legacy Foundation’s offer to fly the family out to see the parade and help with the float reminded his mother of her son’s wishes to be a donor.

“Once it became clear to me that it was Tyrone’s wish, you don’t ever want to think that your loved one has to pass away because they’re on a list waiting for an organ and there is no organ,” Johnson said.

What happened right after Evette agreed to donate as they wheeled his brain-dead but still living body down the hall moved her deeply.

“We walked behind him and the doors opened to the operating room and it was like the gates of heaven opened to receive my son,” Johnson said.

You can sign up to be an organ donor at any Department of Motor Vehicles office.

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