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Likeness of tiny Bryan donor to be part of Rose Parade float

CTY-floragraph18p

Denien Wilde, of Bryan, Ohio, repositions her son's finished floragraph at the Community Tissue Services in Toledo. Quinn Vittorio Wilde, her son, would have been 4 years old this year.

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Though their son Quinn lived just nine weeks, Patrick and Denien Wilde are certain his short life had tremendous meaning.

As their 8-year-old daughter Sofia explained, “He saved two little girls’ lives.”

The Wildes agreed to donate Quinn’s heart valves, which were transplanted into two infant girls – a 2-month-old and a 5-month-old.

“My son has this legacy that’s just amazing and beautiful,” Mrs. Wilde said.

On New Year’s Day, Quinn will be one of 72 organ, eye, and tissue donors from across the country whose likenesses will be displayed on the 2013 Donate Life float in the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. Mrs. Wilde will ride on the float in Quinn’s memory.

The Wildes, who live in Bryan, were in Toledo on Monday at Community Tissue Services to put the finishing touches on Quinn’s floragraph – a portrait created with seeds, spices, and other organic materials ground into sand-like granules.

Volunteers with Donate Life in Pasadena created the floragraph based on a photograph of Quinn, who was born March 28, 2008, and died just nine weeks later from what doctors believed was an undiagnosed seizure disorder.

Family members joined the Wildes – along with Sofia and her 6-year-old brother Griffin -- to complete the floragraph that reflected Quinn’s blue eyes and heart-shaped face. Mrs. Wilde’s mother, Carol Vittorio of Defiance, said she thought the tribute to Quinn was wonderful and called her daughter and son-in-law’s decision to donate his heart valves a good one.

“I feel like Quinn can live on through someone,” she said.

Mr. Wilde said organ and tissue donation is not a decision any parent wants to be faced with, but at the time, it made sense to him and his wife.

“We were trying to make something good come out of something horrible,” he said.

Mrs. Wilde said Quinn appeared to be  born a healthy, normal baby, but when he was seven weeks old, they awoke in the middle of the night to find he was not breathing. Emergency responders resuscitated him, and he was flown to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, where multiple tests showed Quinn had suffered massive brain damage.

The Wildes made the difficult decision to remove life support and spend the rest of their time with Quinn at Hospice of Northwest Ohio. He died there 11 days later.

Now a proponent of tissue and organ donation, Mrs. Wilde acknowledged it can be a tough decision to make during a very emotional time.

“For me personally it’s been a saving grace at moments. I think it can be for other families,” she said. “It’s given me something positive to think about and hold onto.”

That is the message people like Matt Bailey, director of recovery services for Life Connection of Ohio, try to give families like the Wildes. He met with them at St. Vincent’s four years ago and stopped to see them on Monday.

“It can be a wonderful thing out of a tragedy,” he said. “We try to offer families something when they have nothing.”

Ohioans may register their decision to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor at DonateLifeOhio.org, at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles when they obtain or renew a driver’s license or state identification card, or by contacting Community Tissue Services at 1-866-684-7783.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.

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