January 10, 2018 Edition

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Clements among those
honored on parade float

Casey and Karleigh Clements of Walnut Ridge show a rose that was dedicated in memory of Kipton before being placed on the float.

Kipton Clements, son of Casey and Justin Clements of Walnut Ridge, was among those remembered as part of the Donate Life float in the Pasadena Rose Parade on Jan. 1.

Kipton, who was born Dec. 30, 2013, was a heart valve donor in 2014. He passed away on Jan. 8, 2014, at Arkansas Children's Hospital, but was able to give the gift of life to another.

His mother and sister, Karleigh, who is 11, traveled to Pasadena to take part in decorating of the float. Among the flowers adorning the float were roses that were dedicated by families in memory of loved ones. Each rose dedication was read out loud before the rose was placed on the float.

They traveled with a small group from Jonesboro led by Dr. Stephen Lunde. Casey and Justin also have another son, Kohlman, who is three.

While the Clements family has participated in several events to honor Kipton's memory, this was their first time to go to the Rose Parade and work on the Donate Life float.

"This whole experience was very moving, just being around so many other donor families who are all there for the same reasons," Casey said. "The float itself was beautiful and getting to work on it with these other families made me feel like we were honoring our son in a very special way."

She said donors are remembered and recipients are celebrated, which makes the float even more special.

"The float honors donors on the float as floragraphs and those who ride the float are recipients," she said. "Getting to see the whole organ donation process come full circle in a huge way just helped solidify our decision to donate Kipton' s heart valves even more."

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