The Guzman family revisited its past on Saturday, not in San Bernardino, but in Pasadena where they helped build a Rose Parade float. The Donate Life float, themed "Journeys of the Heart," is dedicated to the slain teen and other people whose organs and tissue were donated to save lives.
"I was really happy to be there," Christina Guzman said.
Steven Guzman was walking with friends in the 1500 block of North Belle Street on Jan. 28 when someone in a passing car fired a gun at the group. The bullets missed his friends, but struck Steven.
The teen died at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
He was the city's youngest homicide victim of 2012. The case remains unsolved.
His mother decided to donate Steven's organs, and three people - including two children - have become recipients. The Guzman family relocated to Los Angeles in May in search of a fresh start.
Christina Guzman's sister, who works in the transplant center at Cedars-Sinai, encouraged her to sign up as a volunteer for the Donate Life float.
"I wanted my kids to experience that," Guzman said. "But I wasn't sure if I was ready to go."
When she and five of her relatives arrived to help with the float, her hesitation disappeared. Dozens of other people also were there to volunteer.
"I started crying," she said.
Her son, Vincent Guzman, called it a comfortable experience because he was surrounded by other people who had lost a loved one.
"It was like strangers that turned into friends," he said.
Christina Guzman plans to write letters to the recipients of her son's organs with the hope that they respond and give her some closure.
"Every holiday I think of these kids running and playing and riding a bike," she said. "It made me feel good because my son helped with that."
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