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'Donate Life' Rose Parade float to honor fallen San Diego Captain

We're so proud and honored,” said Captain Robin Cervantes's daughter, Nadia Powell.

SAN DIEGO — Lifesharing, an organization that coordinates organ and tissue donation, is unveiling its 2023 Rose Parade float, and the people it will honor, including a San Diego Fire Captain who died in 2019.

Captain Robin Cervantes became an organ donor after he died following an off-duty fall in 2019.

The float will also honor donor recipients, including Xavier Mcleod, an 18-year-old, who, as a child, received a kidney transplant.

Mcleod and his mom, as well as two of Captain Cervantes' seven daughters were at Lifesharing's Mission Valley offices Friday to talk about their roles in the parade.

While there, they were each given a letter. One was to Cervantes's children, written by a Lifesharing volunteer who is helping create an artistic rendering of Cervantes for the float.

The other was for Mcleod and his mom, from the father of Sam Mccrow.

Mccrow became Mcleod's donor after he died at just 17 while surfing in Mission Beach back in 2007.

“He said he thought of me like a sister and that they love Xavier so much and his whole family loved us. The emotions just overtook me,” said Valerie James, Mcleod’s mother.

On New Year's Day, both families will participate in the Rose Parade.

The "Donate Life" float has been a part of it for the past twenty years.

This year, the float will feature a Chinese street dragon, which represents power, luck and strength.

Standing on the float will be Mcleod, as well as other recipients and living donors.

In addition, there will be 44 pictures, like that of Captain Cervantes, to honor those who gave the gift of life after death.

“I'm so proud of my father the person he was in life and after death and the things he's been able to do.  We're so proud and honored,” said Nadia Powell.

Both families decorated pieces for the float, including writing hopeful messages written on roses.

For them, taking part in the Rose Parade is exciting, but more than that, it's important as a way to highlight how organ donation has changed their lives and so many others.

Mcleod had this message for his donor’s family, “My message is thank you so much. I appreciate everything. I have so much love for your entire family. If it wasn't for your family, I wouldn’t be able to do anything I've accomplished.”

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