Rose Parade Has Special Meaning for Valley Family

January 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
4 years ago a valley high school student decided to sign up for the organ registry. Tuesday he and the woman whose life he saved were seen by millions on national TV.This year's Rose Parade brought Martha Rendon and her daughter to tears because the woman sitting on the front of a float has her son's lungs.

19 year old Xavier Cervantes died after a car accident 4 years ago. A month before, he decided to be an organ donor.

Martha Rendon, son donated organs, says "He said he had registered to become an organ donor and I said, 'why?' And he said 'what do I want any of that for if something happens to me, I'd rather have someone else live.'"

A bay area woman suffering from cystic fibrosis was in a coma when she received Xavier's lungs.

Isabel Stenzel Byrnes, donor recipient, says "The float theme is 'Life Take Flight' and I truly have taken flight. I've been able to do things I've never been able to do because of my lung disease. I'm using Xavier's lungs to the maximum capacity."

Today Isabel climbs mountains, plays the bagpipes, and updates the family on every move. Yvette Cervantes, brother donated organs, says "She's really grateful for us to give her life through my brother; it just really made me happy."

There are about 94,000 people nationwide waiting for an organ donor. 20,000 here in California and about a third will die while waiting.

Xavier's family says a trip to the cemetery is different for them because they feel his spirit is still alive because he was an organ donor.

"It's the best gift he ever left us, the best gift," says Xavier's mom Martha.

"I would encourage people to donate, because not only are you helping save someone else's life, but you're helping a family grieve," says Yvette.

The organ recipient Isabel is just about to celebrate her 36th birthday and she recently wrote a book about her lung transplant called "The Power of Two" and it was reviewed in People magazine last month.

For more information on organ donation visit donatelifecalifornia.org


Load Comments