Katy Family Honors Son, Supports Organ Donation in the Rose Parade


December 31, 2019

By Natalie Cook Clark

When Katy's Rylen Cowan past away at 13 months old he left a mark on this world by saving five lives. The Cowan family keeps his memory alive through raising awareness for organ donation. This New Year's Day, they will ride in the 2020 Rose Parade and honor Rylen and other angels who have saved lives.

Travis and Kristen Cowan work on the LifeGift float for the 2020 Rose Parade.

LifeGift Picks Katy Family to Ride in Parade

LifeGift, a non-profit that raises awareness and educates about organ donations, invited the Cowan family to decorate and ride on their 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade float in Pasadena, CA, and honor Rylen and 70 other honorees.

"To be the family that they picked was magical," says Kristen Cowan, Ralen's mom. "We're beyond touched."

Their Smilin' Boy Saved Five Lives

Rylen was always smiling so he earned the nickname name, Smilin' Rylen. When Rylen lost his battle with bacterial meningitis, his family set up the the Smilin' Rylen Foundation. Their mission was to educate others about organ donation. Five lives were saved by Rylen's organs.

The Smilin' Rylen Foundation also helps families in crisis.

"To know that you are not alone is powerful," says Kristen, who wants to support families experiencing the same grief that her family did. "It's ok to grieve in the way you need to grieve."