STEELTON, Pa. (WHTM) – A portrait of a Steelton organ donor will be featured on a float in the Rose Parade.
It’s been 15 years since all-star athlete Ryan Mohn passed away. Sunday, his family worked on his portrait which will be on the Donate Life float.
“Through his death, six people received life-saving transplants,” said Alison Mohn, Ryan’s mother. “Over 150 people’s lives were enhanced by his tissue donation.”
Alison Mohn never expected that in that gym where her son used to practice and compete, she’d end up grieving, and honoring his legacy.
“It makes me feel proud that he made that decision himself when he got his driver’s license,” said Alison Mohn.
Sixteen-year-old Ryan was killed in a crash in 2004. He’s since been chosen to be featured on the 2020 Donate Life float. It’ll be in the Tournament of Roses parade in California in January.
His family is adding the finishing touches to the portrait, called a floragraph.
“It’s a 12 x 6 circular image and it’s made of like coffee grounds, cinnamon, birdseed, those types of things,” said Alison Mohn.
The float will include 44 memorial portraits.
One of the people who came to celebrate Ryan Sunday was Mohamed Tanamly.
“I got a new lease on life,” said Tanamly.
The 77-year-old thought he had a couple of months to live, but then he became the recipient of Ryan’s liver. A lifelong bond between strangers was instantly formed.
“I consider Ryan’s family my extended family,” said Tanamly. “They’ve been so gracious. They consider me a family member.”
Tanamly has been cancer-free ever since.
He shares Ryan’s story to encourage others to register as organ donors.
“I have three children they all signed up to become organ donors, and I am an organ donor now,” said Tanamly.
Ryan was hailed a hero before and after his death. The quarterback led Steelton-Highspire’s championship football team. He also played baseball and basketball.
“We do this type of thing not only to remember Ryan but to promote organ donation awareness because I think sometimes there’s still a stigma out there about that and you know, it saves lives,” said Alison Mohn.
Ryan’s family is thankful that his memory lives on through others. They’ll be attending the parade early next year.