For the first time, a North Country native will be remembered during the 2013 Rose Bowl Parade. Ryan Converse, who passed away in 2010 after being struck and killed by a car, helped save the lives of four other people when his parents decided to donate his organs. YNN's Carmella Mataloni tells us how honored Ryan's parents are to be a part of this event.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Joseph and Vicki Converse fought back tears as Finger Lakes Donor Recovery officials talked about their son. In 2010, Ryan was struck by a car outside his house. The next morning, he was declared brain dead.
"It's just something that we never thought about in life. We never though it out," said Joseph Converse, Ryan’s father.
Ryan was not a registered organ donor. His parents say when they were confronted with the question of donation, they already knew the answer.
"When we were put on the spot, we just went with it. We knew Ryan would give his all to everyone and anything so we knew he would want it," said Converse.
This year, Ryan was chosen to have his picture displayed on the Donate Life float at this year's Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade.
Rob Kochik of the Finger Lakes Donor Network says that this is the tenth year a Donate for Life float has been included in the parade and it's important to honor those who give the gift of life.
"We are just so pleased to honor Ryan. This is our sixth year that we were able to honor one of our donor families," said Kochik.
At the ceremony, Ryan's parents put the finishing touches on his flora graph, which will be added to the float.
At the front of the float will be donated flowers called the family circle. This is a general display of what this year's float will look like. The Converse family says they are honored to be a part of this year's Rose Bowl Parade.
"It's unbelievable. I don't know, dealing with the Finger Lakes Organ Donor Recovery Network, they have been so great," said Converse.
The family says they hope to continue helping raise organ donation awareness so that other families can be prepared when making life changing decision.