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Late Carmel man to be honored on Rose Parade float

McKenzie Leichtnam (Provided Photo/Indiana Donor Network)

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A Carmel man had a heart transplant as a newborn in 1990. He died 20 years later and donated tissue to help others. Now, he’ll be honored nationally in the Donate Life Rose Parade float in January.

McKenzie Leichtnam will be one of 44 donors honored on Jan. 2 during the 134th annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Leichtnam will be remembered with a floragraph portrait displayed on the float.

A floragraph is an artistic portrait created with floral materials, including spices and seeds, that cover a digitized photograph of the honoree.

“Stories like McKenzie’s ignite Hoosiers and people throughout the country to sign up to become organ and tissue donors and ultimately give the gift of life,” Kellie Tremain, president and CEO of Indiana Donor Network, said. “The Rose Parade float is a fitting tribute to McKenzie’s legacy as a donor hero and his family’s selfless decision to heal lives through tissue donation.”

Leichtnam graduated from Carmel High School and completed two years of his undergrad degree at Vincennes University. He was set to transfer to Indiana University, but a day after visiting campus with his parents, he unexpectedly died in his sleep.