“Have the conversation about organ donation. We can take some comfort from the tragedy knowing that Craig’s death has not been in vain.”
Those were the emotional words of Alexia McCooke as she spoke to Causeway Coast and Glens Council on Tuesday night telling the story of how her son Craig’s organs had helped five other people after his death in a road traffic collision.
Mrs McCooke was joined by specialist nurse Mary McAfee and liver transplant recipient 16-year-old Lucia Quinney Mee.
She told a hushed chamber that her story began on 21st October 2014 when her son Craig received severe head injuries as a result of a road traffic accident and ended up on life support. He died 12 days later.
She told how the family had the conservation about organ donation when Craig was applying for a provisional driving licence. “Because of that conversation, we knew that Craig had ticked the box on the form,” she added.
Craig’s liver helped a man in his 60s, his kidney and pancreas went to a married man with a young family, the other kidney went to a man in his 30s who had been waiting for an organ for two years and his heart valves have helped a three-year-old child and a woman in her 60s.
Mr McCooke said that the family had received letters from some of the recipients and that they provide comfort to the family in the midst of such a personal tragedy. “Have the conversation about organ donation,” she said.
The flip side of the organ donation story was told by Cross and Passion College student Lucia Quinney Mee who said: “When people ask me about myself, I tell them three things - I am a swimmer, a ballerina and I’ve had three liver transplants”.
“My dreams and aspirations have been given a chance because oft he generosity of the donors and their families.”
Lucia told the councillors that she has started a Facebook page called Live Loudly Donate Proudly in the hope of “normalising the conversation about organ donation”.