10-year-old girl who saved four people with organ donation honored at Valley Children's Hospital

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Four people are alive today thanks to a young girl whose organs were donated two years ago.

Tuesday, Valley Children's Hospital and Donor Network West honored the memory of 10-year-old Francine Salazar with a special ceremony.

"Hey Franny, I miss you so much and I wish you were still here," Hanah Yalung-Blakely, Francine's mother, said. She was reading letters from friends of Francine that had been given to her. "It's been really tough without you, but every time I see a butterfly, I think of you and you were always my partner in crime."

Francine was left brain dead after authorities said a driver slammed into her family's van in Tulare County in 2019.

Tuesday was exactly two years to the day Valley Children's Hospital held its first ever Honor Walk as doctors prepared Francine for organ donation.

That video has now been viewed more than 10 million times.

"We want to say thank you, Francine, for all the love, the love you shared with the world and the love you leave behind with those receiving your gifts," a doctor read aloud in a video of the Honor Walk.

Francine's heart, kidneys and pancreas were able to help save the lives of four other people.

Tuesday morning, Francine was remembered in a special ceremony at the hospital.

Her mother and stepfather helped cut the ribbon to showcase the portrait that will be hung inside Valley Children's for the month of August.

It's the floragraph portrait her family helped create and was featured as part of the 2021 Donate Life Rose Parade floral sculpture.

"It's a big honor for us to keep Francine's memory alive year after year, it's very important," John Blakely, Francine's stepfather, said.

The Donor Network West said August is National Multiethnic Donor Awareness Month.

The goal is to educate minority and multiethnic communities about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation.

There are currently 100,000 men, women and children on the transplant list, nearly 60% of which are minorities.

"During this month, we'd like to recognize donors like Francine Salazar to amplify the selfless and generosity of all donors," said Marcella Corona, the Multicultural Initiative Program Manager at Donor Network West.

Her family said Francine will be remembered as an aspiring cartoonist and social butterfly who loved to dance.

They hope when someone hears Francine's story or sees her picture they take a moment to consider giving the gift of life.

"I hope that with this, that they become aware and like, God forbid it happens, they know, by organ donation, they can prolong other people's lives and make more memories with their family," Yalung-Blakely said.

Francine's family said they're grateful she was able to save the lives of four people. Her mother said she's still very emotional about losing Francine, but someday she would like to meet those recipients.
Copyright © 2022 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.