CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – It’s been 4 years since a wrong way driver hit and killed Kaitlyn Ferrante and her best friend, Marisa Catronio, on the Sawgrass Expressway.
Kaitlyn’s family misses her every day, but they know that she lives on in the bodies of others.
Her family donated her organs and that life-changing decision is leading to a nice honor for Kaitlyn at the Rose Bowl Parade next week.
“It was a very hard journey for us and a hard decision to make,” said Christine Ferrante.
Her daughter Kaitlyn, just two days after being hit by a drunken, speeding wrong way driver on Sawgrass Expresswaya, lay dying in a hospital.
Christine was asked if she would donate Kaitlyn’s organs.
“When they told us Kaitlyn didn’t have a chance at life any more, she was brain dead and we had the opportunity to save other lives and as a family we chose to donate her organs,” she explained.
And that decision immediately made a difference.
“That night there was a woman who needed a heart and so that night we said good bye to Kaitlyn and her heart was then transplanted into woman who needed to be saved,” Christine said.
Years later, Christine, her daughter, Ashley, and granddaughter would meet that woman and get to experience a piece of Kaitlyn.
“We heard her heart beat and we know Kaitlyn is now breathing in someone else and alive,” Christine said.
Kaitlyn’s story touched those at the Life Alliance Organ Recovery Agency. They requested that her story represent South Florida on the Donate Life float at the Rose Bowl Parade in California this Monday.
Volunteers are busy making something called a floragraph of Kaitlyn to be displayed on the float.
“We’re just honored that Kaitlyn’s family would allow us to help us to create this memorial for Kaitlyn and help make this for them, that they would trust us to do that,” said volunteer Lindsay Frutchey.
Volunteers hope Kaitlyn’s story and the stories of dozens of other organ donors inspire others to make a similar choice.
“We’d like to tell Kaitlyn’s family thank you for making such a selfless decision during such a difficult time,” said volunteer Ellen Gren.
Christine knows the direct benefits of organ donation, knowing that several lives were touched, improved and even saved by Kaitlyn’s sacrifice.
“You may have a tragic situation but if you have the opportunity, and your loved one can save someone else’s life, do it. Donate their organ,” Christine said.
To learn more about organ donation, visit donatelifeflorida.org.