Tragic deaths lead to life for others through organ donations

The Tampa Tribune | Barbara Routen

BRANDON — In July 2014, 9-year-old Oceana Irizarry and her father, Ommy Irizarry, from Fort Stewart, Ga., were killed after a small plane hit them as it made an emergency landing on Casperson Beach in Venice, Fla.

LifeLink of Florida, a nonprofit organ-recovery agency located off Falkenburg Road, helped Irizarry’s widow, Rebecca, arrange for organ and tissue donations from her deceased loved ones.

Oceana and her father were honored Jan. 1 with floragraphs — floral photos — on the Donate Life float in the 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade. Nearly 60 organ, tissue and eye donors were memorialized in floragraphs on the float. Transplant recipients whose lives were saved or improved and living organ donors rode the float.

“As part of preparations for their Rose Parade debut, Rebecca Irizarry and her surviving 7-year-old daughter, Ava, recently had the opportunity to assist with the decorating of Ommy’s and Oceana’s floragraphs,” said Betsy Edwards, LifeLink of Florida’s senior public affairs coordinator. Continue reading