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Family invites public to memorial service for Washington County’s Travis Flores | News, Sports, Jobs


Travis Flores, Frontier High/Middle School graduate, actor, author and philanthropist, passed away on May 23. (Photo provided)

NEWPORT – Travis Flores, a graduate of Frontier High/Middle School and three-time lung transplant recipient, died May 23 in Los Angeles, California.

Flores was born on April 7, 1991, in Glendale, California. He was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that affects mucus production in the body. His mother, Teresa, said the diagnosis was made when he was 4 months old.

His first double lung transplant was performed in March 2015. After 2.5 years, his lungs began to collapse and a second transplant was performed in October 2017.

“When Travis was born, his life expectancy was 5 years at most,” Said Teresa Flores. “At that time, medicine was advancing so we could spend more time with him.”

Despite the progress, Flores faced great resistance when his lungs failed again in May 2020, she said.

“He had to fight for this third transplant. It is rare that a third transplant works,” She said.

“I was told there would be no third time,” Flores said in an earlier Times article. “If the second sentence were rejected, I would have to get my things in order and my life would be over.”

However, the surgery was approved. Teresa Flores, Travis’ husband Clement Souyri, and his brother took him to the emergency room at UCLA Ronald Reagan Hospital. She said it was especially difficult because there are visitation restrictions due to the pandemic.

“We dropped him off with hugs and love and I’m not sure we’ll ever see him again,” She said.

Against all expectations, Flores survived the operation.

“His surgeon told me he was the 16th person in the United States to receive a third lung transplant,” She said. “He paved the way for others. His case changed the way UCLA admits patients.”

Teresa Flores said she was grateful for the generosity of organ donors and their families, as they helped extend his life.

“Thanks to the generosity of other people, we were able to spend nine more years with him,” She said. “We met the family of a donor on the donor’s birthday. He blew out the candles on the cake with the donor’s lungs. We became good friends.”

She said his passions are expressing himself through art and sharing stories with others. One way he did this was by creating the social media hashtag “Yellow Heart Troop”, where commenters could leave a yellow heart in comments to show their support.

“He asked people to post a yellow heart and that became whatever he needed at that moment, be it hugs, love or prayers.” She said.

In 2004, the Make a Wish Foundation published “The spider that never gave up” a children’s book Flores wrote about Sparkey, a spider who couldn’t spin a web but managed to do so with the help of her friends. She said the Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky chapter of Make a Wish modeled its 2019 gala after the book.

The chapter also presented the first Travis Flores Legacy Award, which is given to another person or organization that gives back, and has been given every year since.

“Our family presented this year’s award on May 18. Travis could not come because he was sick,” She said.

Flores suffered an aspiration that left him ill on May 21. Souyri took him to the hospital, where he developed sepsis.

Teresa Flores said that even in his weakest state, he tried to communicate with his family.

“One of his friends who knew sign language was there, and Travis had known sign language since elementary school. He would sign one or two letters and then pause for a minute.” She said.

She said her son’s battle with cystic fibrosis has not been easy and he has had to overcome many obstacles, but one thing has remained the same throughout his life.

“One thing was never taken away from him: the hope he gave to other people,” She said. “He had so much charisma. He radiated hope and happiness.”

A celebration to honor his life is planned for July 13th from 2-4 p.m. at Newport Elementary School. She wants people to come together and share stories from his life.

“He has friends who fly in from all over the country to take part,” She said.

***

Retirement celebration for Travis Flores

* Location: Newport Elementary School

* Date and time: July 13, 2-4 p.m.




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