Southern California

Teen's Parents Behind Rose Parade Float That Encourages Organ Donation

A bad decision led to an uplifting message for one of the Rose Parade's floats, which organizers hope will encourage others to donate organs and help save lives.

Connor Reid Eckhardt was 18 years old when he died after taking one hit of the synthetic drug "Spice."

The July 2014 death devastated his parents, and they mourn his bad decision every single day.

But at the same time, they're proud.

Before the Newport Beach teen died, he made the decision to donate his organs should tragedy strike.

"People need to know -- not only about organ donation -- but people need to know about the dangers of 'legal highs.' Kids are dying all over the world," Veronica Eckhardt, Connor's mother, said.

His parents said that through Connor's death, he managed to save lives.

"He chose to put that pink dot on his license and be an organ donor," Devin Eckhardt, Connor's father, said. "When you make that decision, it doesn't cost you anything. We all should do it."

Connor's parents said his organs went to four different people. His mom said she hopes that one day she can put her head to the chest of the person who received his heart, and hear it beating.

The "One Legacy" float that will be featured in the Pasadena Rose Parade on New Year's Day will be a part of the mission to facilitate human organ donation in Southern California.

The organization and Connor's parents hope his story will help others decide that they too wish to donate their organs by placing the pink sticker on their driver's licenses.

The Eckhardts said they hope others will get that message, as well, during the famous parade on New Year's Day.

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