10-year-old Tulare County girl to be honored at Rose Parade

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Ten-year-old Francine Salazar was killed in a Tulare County crash after a driver ran a stop sign and slammed into her family's car.

Through the donation of her heart, pancreas and both kidneys, Francine helped save four lives, but now there's hope that her story could save countless more lives.

Surrounded by her partner and three boys, Hanna Yalung is putting the finishing touches on the "floragraph" portrait of her late daughter, Francine Salazar.

"I have my moments. It's on and off. I'm okay. At work, I'm always laughing but deep inside, it's really still painful," Hanah said. "She's my baby girl, my firstborn."

The life and sacrifice of the 10-year-old, killed in a Tulare County crash last year, is being honored in one of the most-watched events of the year -- the Rose Parade.

Although this year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, the New Year's Day tradition will be a re-imagined celebration -- where Donor Network West will still honor the memory of organ, eye and tissue donors -- like Francine.

In addition to her love of art and cooking, like most kids her age, Francine had dreams of becoming a famous Youtuber or a TikTok star. Shortly after Francine passed, her mother discovered she created a TikTok account.

That secret account is something mom says Francine would have been grounded for, but now she's thankful to be able to enjoy these moments she didn't know about.

It would be another video of Francine that achieved the viral status she only dreamed of.

A video of the Honor Walk held by Doctors and nurses at Valley Children's Hospital has been viewed almost 6 million times -- and has left a lasting impact.

Jacqueline Manzanito of Donor Network West says, "There is no doubt that her story has inspired others to potentially give the gift of life."

Yalung says, "we were so glad those kids were able to be with their family longer and she was able to help them."

Hanah says she hopes to one day meet the recipients of Francine's gift. She's started the process of writing letters, but is still searching for the words to finish them.
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