Jantz Hughes Kinzer Jr. was born July 19, 2007. He died on Oct. 24, 2009.
Although his time with his family was short, he left countless wonderful memories. They include his bright smile, sparkling blue eyes and white blonde hair, singing the ABCs and learning to speak in phrases. His sentences often started with “Baby Jantz.”
Just before bed time, he would say “Night night fishy” to his goldfish and then give bear hugs and kisses to members of his family — his parents Jantz Hughes Kinzer Sr. and Michelle Kinzer, and his siblings Logan Adams, Payton Adams, Ashlynn Adams and Cade Adams.
On an October afternoon, Michelle picked up the children and took them home where Logan was getting ready for a dance class. Payton was at a friend’s house. Cade and Baby Jantz were outside playing. Michelle was in the kitchen with Ashlynn.
When Cade came into the house, Michelle noticed Baby Jantz wasn’t with him. She sent the children out to find him. Moments later, a friend of Ashlynn’s burst through the back door saying Baby Jantz was in the pool.
Cade, 5, had already jumped in and pulled Baby Jantz to the side when Michelle got there. She lifted her 2-year-old son from the water, laid him down and began performing CPR.
Logan dialed 911 and then called Jantz to tell him what happened. Emergency crews began arriving. When Michelle arrived at The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center in Oklahoma City, her son was looking better. His heart was beating and he was on oxygen.
By 8 a.m. the next morning, Baby Jantz’ pupils had stopped dilating and contracting. By 9 a.m., his mother and father knew their son was brain dead.
THE GIFT OF A LIFETIME
On Oct. 24, 2009, after good-byes had been spoken, Baby Jantz died. Services for Baby Jantz were held at the LifeChurch campus in Edmond, where the family attends services.
Through LifeShare transplant donor services of Oklahoma, Baby Jantz’ kidney saved a 54-year-old Oklahoma woman. His liver saved an 18-month-old baby boy in Texas.
Since 2004, the Donate Life Rose Parade Float has served as a memorial to organ and tissue donors and a platform for donor families, living donors and transplant recipients to inspire the world to save and heal those in need through the gift of life.
Friday morning, members of Baby Jantz’ family were at LifeChurch, where they completed a florograph of their son that will be part of the Donate Life float in the 125th Rose Parade. A florograph is a portrait made with organic materials like flower petals and seeds.
“Rose Parade floats are designed, built and decorated by teams who put heart and soul into each unique presentation,” said Richard De Jesu, chairman of the Tournament of Roses Judging Committee.
Several months ago, the Kinzers were invited to have a florograph of Baby Jantz on the float.
Jeffrey Orlowski, LifeShare of Oklahoma CEO and chairman of the Board for Donate Life America, said the family was chosen because of the profoundly positive impact of Baby Jantz and the decision to donate his organs. Individuals who are recipients of organ and tissue transplants will be riding on the float along with about 70 florographs, Orlowski said. Several dozen living donors will be walking with the float.
“It’s a worldwide connection,” Orlowski said. “It’s an opportunity for us to tell a story a lot of people in Oklahoma will hear and see that they wouldn’t otherwise hear and see because almost everybody watches the Rose Parade.”
Friday’s event at LifeChurch was a time to celebrate and honor the life of Baby Jantz and the gift the Kinzer family made, Orlowski said. Family members cried and managed smiles as they completed the florograph.
In Oklahoma, about 760 individuals are awaiting organ transplants. About 50 Oklahomans die each year waiting for a transplant. For more information about being an organ and/or tissue donor, call 1-888-580-5680 or visit www.lifeshareoklahoma.org.
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