On Tuesday, Nov. 13, MemorialCare Long Beach Medical Center gathered with the friends and family of Joseluis Cruz, Jr., a young man who lost his life six years ago, to honor his memory and the impact that his last act of organ donation made on our community.

Joseluis, 23, lost his life in 2012 two hours after a traumatic incident. He was brought to Long Beach Medical Center where he was cared for by the Trauma Program care team. Despite all efforts, the damage to Joseluis’ body was too great. Two days after the incident, Joseluis was declared brain dead.

In light of his sudden and tragic passing, the Cruz family, made up of his parents and four sisters, had to make the difficult decision to donate Joseluis’ organs. Through his donation, Joseluis donated five organs and ultimately saved the lives of four people.

The Cruz family shares Joseluis’ story in hopes of inspiring others to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. They believe that “life goes on” through organ donation and that through his donation, Joseluis’ legacy will forever live.

“Because of Joseluis, I am an organ donor now,” says Pedro Cruz, brother-in-law of Joseluis. “Now four people can continue to be with their family and their loved ones. Even in death Joseluis is still making an impact.”

James Leo, M.D., chief medical officer, MemorialCare, thanked the Cruz family for their brave and generous decision to donate Joseluis’ organs. He also highlighted the importance of organ donation in saving lives every day.

Hospital leaders joined the family in placing the finishing touches on the floragraph of Joseluis, a large-scale photo composed of flowers and organic materials, that will be featured along with 43 other donor honorees’ on the Donate Life Rose Parade® Float.

The float honors donors, families and recipients each year spreading the life-saving message to millions on New Year’s Day.

At the end of the ceremony, Arthur Lamas, one of the lives Joseluis saved through his organ donation, arrived with his young family sharing a touching moment with the Cruz family as they shared stories of Joseluis, and got to witness first hand, the power of organ donation.

Donate Life America is a non-profit organization with a mission to increase the number of donated organs, eyes and tissues available to save lives and give the gift of life. Long Beach Medical Center is a long-time partner of Donate Life and supporter of its mission to save lives through organ donation.