A Minnesota teenager whose decision to become an organ donor has helped scores of people will be honored at the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day.
For nearly two years, the family of Andy Hendel of Cologne, Minnesota, has struggled to come to terms with the 16-year-old's suicide.
His father, John Hendel – a native of Worthington – tells the Daily Globe the knowledge that parts of Andy live on in 63 other people has provided some solace to the family, which includes John's twin brother Josh and younger sister Olivia. The children were born in Hanoi, Vietnam, and adopted by Ann and John Hendel.
John Hendel tells the Daily Globe Andy signed up as a donor upon receiving his driver's license six months before his death.
The American Association of Tissue Banks says Andy's gift has helped people aged 15 to 82 in 25 different states. The group chose to honor him with a floragraph – a likeness in flowers – on the Donate Life float at the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
The Association is one of several groups that join forces annually on the Donate Life float.
CBS Los Angeles reports this year's float features floragraphs of 72 donors and many of the volunteers who worked on it are organ and tissue recipients.
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The Donate Life float's Facebook page features profiles of many of the donors memorialized with floragraphs.
The two-foot-tall likeness of Andy Hendel was sent to Minnesota early this month. The Norwood Young America Times was on hand when the Hendels hosted a gathering in Cologne for friends to see the floragraph and celebrate Andy's gift.
The Times says Olivia Hendel recently obtained her first driver's license and made a point of signing up to be a donor. Ann Hendel told the paper the family looks forward to meeting some of the recipients of Andy's organs and tissue, particularly the four people who received parts of his heart.
The theme for the 2015 Tournament of Roses and the 126th Rose Parade is "Inspiring Stories."