The legacy of Jason Jiaa will live on through others, his parents said. That is why they decided to donate the 11-year old's organs after Jason died of an allergic reaction in 2008.
“It's hard but we feel this is the best way to help people who really need it,” said Henry Jiaa, Jason's father. “We learned that 150,000 people are on the waiting list and that 18 people die every day because they can't get the organ donations they need.”
Jason's parents, Henry and Sue Jiaa of Livingston, unveiled and put the finishing touches on a floragraph depiction of young Jason during a special ceremony on Tuesday at the Tzu Chi Foundation in Cedar Grove, where Jason attended classes. Tzu Chi is a non-profit Taiwan Buddhist organization with divisions in 50 countries and nearly 10 million followers.
The floragraph, made of seeds, grains, spices, dried flowers and other organics, will join 71 other donor floragraphs on the Donate Life float at the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, CA on New Years Day.
With the help of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation, the Jiaas were able to donate Justin's heart, kidneys, pancreas and liver to four recipients.
“The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is not possible without people like the Jiaa family,” said Elisse Glennon, Executive Director of the non-profit. “We are proud to have Jason and the 71 others on the float this year.”
The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is a non-profit organization which partners with Donate Life America, a not-for-profit national alliance that drives communities to increase their numbers of registered donors.
An 8-year-old North Carolina girl received Jason's heart, a 33-year-old New Jersey man received his kidney and pancreas, a 55-year-old Wisconsin woman received his other kidney, and a 47-year-old Maryland woman received his liver.
“When my son died I felt totally lost,” Henry Jiaa said. “But having him help those others, I feel that he is part of those people.”