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Family of former Cactus High student honored at football game

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  • Erin Dunsey/ Peoria Unified School District

Joshua Florence

Cactus High School alumnus, Joshua Florence saved four lives through organ donation after his death in 2007. Josh has been chosen by Donor Network of Arizona, the state’s only organ recovery organization, to represent Arizona at the 2015 Rose Parade on the Donate Life float.

His inclusion in the parade will be celebrated on Sept. 26 at the Cactus v. Greenway football game at 6:45 p.m. on the football field before the 7 p.m. kickoff. The school is at 6330 W. Greenway Road in Glendale.

Family of former Cactus High student honored at football game Joshua-Florence

Cactus High School alumni Joshua Florence

The death of a child is the worst tragedy that a parent could ever experience. Steven and Sandy Florence of Glendale learned first-hand how this unthinkable loss feels when their  19-year-old son, Joshua, was killed in a car accident on May 3, 2007.

However, during the worst moment of their lives, Steven and Sandy made the best decision of their lives: they chose to say “yes” to organ and tissue donation on Josh’s behalf.

Josh saved four lives the day he passed away and healed dozens more in the following months.

In memory of Josh’s beautiful legacy and the Florence’s generous decision to share life, Josh will be honored on the Donate Life float at the 2015 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. His portrait will be among more than 70 other donors adorning the float, titled “The Never-Ending Story.”

The float design and float press release can be found at

Cactus High School, where Josh played defensive back for the 2005 state championship football team, will celebrate Josh’s life and inclusion in the Rose Parade at their Sept. 26 home game against Greenway High School at 7 p.m.

Before kickoff, Jeffery Griffith, one of Josh’s former teachers, will present a bouquet of roses to the Florence family. Coach Larry Fetkenhier, who coached Josh through most of his high school career, will be available for comment before and after the game.

“Josh’s legacy lives on through donation,” says Sandy. “Josh will never be forgotten because he was a donor, and we heal each time we think about the good that came from his tragic loss.”

The Florence family turned their darkest moment into an act of selflessness and hope, and because of this, Joshua’s light will never be forgotten.

To speak with Mr. or Mrs. Florence either before or during this event, please contact Jacqueline Keidel from the Donor Network of Arizona at 708-204-5804.