A Lee’s Summit, Mo., woman will be remembered in a special way at Wednesday’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Lezlie McLendon’s family hopes the memorial will send a message to others about the benefit of organ donation.
The family says it not only saves lives, but helps those grieving.
Lezlie McLendon was driving with her sister earlier this year when she suddenly passed out. Her sister got her out of the car and tried to administer CPR, but Lezlie’s cardiac arrest left her in a coma she never woke up from.
At 45, Lezlie had never been seriously ill.
After her untimely death, her family discovered Lezlie had signed documents stating she wanted her organs donated when she died.
Her father, John McLendon, says the family wasn't surprised. She’d been working as a community outreach coordinator for a local blood bank.
“They showed us the paperwork where she’d signed up at the DMV, so we wanted to honor her wishes. So we agreed to have them harvest her organs,” says McLendon.
Lezlie’s kidney, liver and three other organs were transplanted into five different individuals.
At Wednesday’s Rose Parade in Pasadena, a float celebrating organ donors around the country will feature an image of Lezlie’s face drawn from a photograph. As are all images on Rose Parade floats, Lezlie’s face will be painted in flowers.