MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Family and friends gathered at the University of Miami Life Science and Technology Park Wednesday morning to remember Tuly Gonzalez on what would have been her 32nd birthday.

She died 11 years ago but the gathering was not just to remember her, but to also celebrate the lives she has impacted though her donation.

After her death, her family made the decision to donate her tissue. Tuly’s skin was used to treat eight burn victims, one of whom was at the celebration that morning.

“It’s a huge honor just to see that her donation lives on and the type of effect it has on other people,” said her brother, Jorge Fajardo, who was there along with her mother,

Along with family were the doctors and medical staff who took her gift and used it to treat their patients.

Vivex Biologics is the Miami-based company that worked to get the tissue from the donors to the doctors and the patients.

“It’s the generosity of the donors that they entrust us with their gift,” said Vivex President and COO Lou Barnes. “We do the best we can to make sure the recipients get what they need to heal.”

One of those patients was Vivianne Sanchez. She suffered a burn and was treated with the skin donated by Tuly.

“I just wanted to thank her for doing that for other people that need help and say thank you for donors,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez was there with her mother to show her appreciation not only for Tuly, but for all those who make the choice to donate.

Tuly will be featured in the upcoming Rose Bowl Parade in the form of a floragraph. It’s a portrait of her made by roses and other various flowers positioned by hand.

It was finished at the ceremony by her family before it will be sent out west to be part of the Donate Life Parade Float, which will remember her and other donors as their legacy lives on.

Dave Warren

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