TYLER - More than a year after his death, an East Texas football player lives on -- not only in memories -- but also in others. Soon, Cam'ron Matthews' gift of life will be recognized on a national stage.
Matthews, an Alto High School football player, died in October 2015 after collapsing on the sidelines during a home game.
The sudden loss left a void in the lives of Cam'ron's loved ones.
"For him to be gone and his presence to be gone from our house, is hard for us," said his father, Ronnie Matthews.
Matthews, 16, wished to donate his organs, and his parents respected that wish upon his death. His organs saved the lives of six people.
"I didn't think I would see November of 2016," said Dana Hall, a mom of two who received a pancreas and kidney from Matthews.
Not only did Hall say she felt better than she did for years before receiving the organs, the transplant brought with it a new, extended family -- the Matthews.
"Now that I've got two of his organs, I feel close to him even though I never met him," she said.
In honor of Matthews' lifesaving gift, a Floragraph of his photo will be displayed on the Donate Life float in this year’s Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
Matthews is one of 60 people whose likeness will appear on the float, which also urges others to become registered organ donors.
"22 people in the United States die each day waiting on the transplant list," explained Katie Whiiton, director of public relations for the Southwest Transplant Alliance (STA).
That statistic acts as a force behind STA, which works to increase awareness about organ donation -- a mission the Matthews family has also taken on.
"If your child can't go on any further, then allow somebody else to live through him," said Ronnie.
The Matthews family will travel to Pasadena, California on New Year's so they can watch the Rose Parade in person.
Click here to learn more about organ donation in Texas.
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