An Aliso Viejo family is putting a little piece of its son, Tommy, into the Rose Parade.
The Weiss family spent Dec. 17 decorating a floragraph of Tommy, who died after a car accident when he was 10 years old. The floral portrait will be one of many featured on Donate Life's float, which will honor organ donors during the Jan. 2 Rose Parade in Pasadena.
The accident left Tommy in a coma, and his family made the tough decision to donate his heart.
"My life changed in an instant, and I wasn't ready for the change, let alone the decision on whether to donate Tommy's heart," said Donna Telles, Tommy's mother.
Ultimately, the family decided that Tommy, who was kind and giving by nature, would want his organs donated to someone in need.
The heart recipient turned out to be Christopher Truxaw, who was 13 years old at the time and is now a Stanford graduate.
Truxaw and members of his family were also on hand Dec. 17 to help decorate in Tommy's memory.
Telles said the Truxaws have become an important part of her family since the heart donation in 1997.
"Meeting the recipient family changed my life forever," Telles said. "Since then, I've attended two U.S. Transplant Games with the mother of Tommy's heart recipient, as well as one in which her son competed."