Almost 25 years after the tragic death of 13-year-old Ryan Cart of Iota, his family is getting ready to celebrate the impact of his life in a special way.
The Cart family's decision to make their son an organ and tissue donor through the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency (LOPA) is being celebrated this year at the Rose Bowl Parade.
In 1997, at just 13-years-old, a tragic accident took Ryan Cart's life.
"Him and a friend were on a four wheeler and got into an ATV accident," says Ryan's sister Leah Lopez. "And both boys were tissue and organ donors."
For Ryan's family, the decision was easy. It was their way of enhancing someone else's life, even in their own time of loss.
Today, years later, they're proud of the impact that decision has made for the woman who received Ryan's tissue donation.
"She has kids and she got to get her college degree, and all of those things that Ryan helped her to be able to achieve those things," says Leah.
All of the good that comes from donations like Ryan's is honored each year at the Rose Parade. And this year, Ryan has been chosen as one of the faces depicted on a special float for organ donors.
"The float is beautiful. It's going to be out of seeds and dried flowers and it takes a lot of man hours that people put in and volunteer their time. So this year Courage to Hope is the theme and it's a lion. It will be beautiful to see," says Leah.
After losing a loved one at such a young age, Ryan's family is looking forward to celebrating a milestone in his honor.
"Ryan was only 13. He was in seventh grade. He missed out on so many things, that this will be a thing we can do for him," says Leah.
This past weekend, the Cart family decorated Ryan's image for the Rose Parade Float.
That parade will roll on New Year's Day, January 1, 2022, in Pasadena California.
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