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Published December 20, 2011, 08:20 AM

Family preserves daughter's memory through organ donation

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Kirstin Booke was just 11 months old when she died Christmas Eve after an accident on an icy stretch of Interstate 29 in south Fargo. When millions sit down New Year's Day to watch the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California it's her image that will now represent the push for organ donation.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Kirstin Booke was just 11 months old when she died Christmas Eve after an accident on an icy stretch of Interstate 29 in south Fargo. When millions sit down New Year's Day to watch the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California it's her image that will now represent the push for organ donation.

That charming grin and those adorable eyes sure made everyone a quick fan of little Kirstin Booke.

Andrew Booke – Kirstin’s Dad: “Her smile, I can close my eyes and picture her smile anytime.”

Her Mom and Dad thought the world of her.

Sydney Cantler – Kirstin’s Mom: “She was a wonderful baby, we couldn't have asked for a better one.”

As she approached her first birthday, she was everything to those who called her Baby K.

Dawn Cantler – Kirstin’s Grandma: “I think of her a thousand times a day still, she is everywhere.”

And so how tragic it would be; a stretch of I-29 at 52nd avenue, the young family preparing to celebrate Christmas Eve.

Sydney Cantler: “It was black ice. We didn't know it was there.”

A head injury from a car crash would take Kirstin from them all.

Sydney Cantler: “Just the way she looked, it looked like a concussion. But so, yeah we didn't know how bad it was.”

But as horrible as the tragedy was during those minutes and few hours after the accident, the young couple made the unselfish decision to allow Kirstin to live on in others as an organ and tissue donor.

Andrew Booke: “When they asked us about it, I just pictured somebody else's little girl laying in that hospital bed and needing something.”

There is family history of organ donation. Kirstin's great grandpa has received two hearts, a kidney from his son.

Ron Cantler – Kirstin’s Great Grandpa: “I wouldn't be here today if someone had not made that decision.”

A few days ago, Kirstin's grandparents traveled to Pasadena, California where they spent hours creating the image of Kirstin which will grace the Donate Life float at the New Year's Rose Parade.

Dawn Cantler: “She hardly had a life, yet after she passed, she was able to do so much for so many people.”

It was an emotional time, remembering the little girl that changed their lives, then taken from them so suddenly. But working on the float became spiritual.

Ron Cantler: “She was there, she was there.”

Upon her death, organ donation teams harvested 26 gifts of life from Kirstin---tissue for others who can now thank this little girl, for life. A loss at the holidays, that has now become this endearing Christmas Gift. A father's tattoo in memory of his little girl, a life lost. In his words, “These feet walked away with my heart.”

Right now in the Upper Midwest LifeSource reports 3,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant. So far this year 151 organ donors have stepped up to help.

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