Can you imagine how you would feel if the next phone call you received was one telling you a loved one was in a serious accident? Can you imagine walking into your childs room to discover they are unconscious? Imagine the rush to the hospital, the fear and then the silence of sitting in the relatives room, or by the bed of your loved one. Waiting. Eventually within hours or days, the doctors and nurse arrive and you are told there is nothing anyone can do. Your loved one, mother, father, brother, sister or child, will not be coming home again. As you struggle to understand the enormity of what is being said, a nurse or a doctor turns to you and asks, would you consider organ donation?
What would you say?
Last year a musician in Ireland called Pa Curran, lost his great friend, and fellow musician Tadhg Burke Neff, in a car accident. Tadhgs mother agreed to donate his organs and nine peoples lives were saved. Hours after hearing of his friends loss, a stricken Pa wrote a song which he called “Unintentional hero”. Subsequently he got the idea that he would like to do something to promote organ donation and honour his friend and others who were also so quietly generous.
Last weekend in West Cork his project took flight. Thirty families gathered together to take part in a video shoot for his song. These families had one thing in common. Some had lost loved ones and bravely decided to donate their organs at that most difficult of times, others were at the shoot, living new lives, because of others generosity.
I heard of this wonderful project through my youngest daughters friend, who is eleven years old. Some of you may remember just weeks before we lost the young warrior, that a small boy in our village, named Ben, aged six, suddenly became ill. Sadly, despite huge efforts by medics both here and in England Ben passed away.
I can remember hearing from my daughter about Ben becoming ill. She spoke of him getting a special plane to England, but never realised quite what that meant. Within a few days I heard that his sister and family were flying over, and I knew it was to say goodbye. I sat my little one down and explained to her what was happening. I held her as she sobbed. It was her first experience of death. I joined her, letting our tears flow unchecked, as I thought of small Bens mom and dad and the agony they were living. They kindly agreed to keep Ben alive for twenty four hours to allow organs be suitably matched. Ben passed away in October. Just last week his family received a letter telling them that yet another life had been saved by Ben. He just keeps on giving. But this was special. They received the letter on his fathers birthday.
Perhaps it was a timely letter, or as I like to think, maybe a little something from Ben himself.
Their bravery still astounds me. Their courage and selflessness is humbling. I read on the facebook page of “unintentional hero” a comment from Bens father Bryan. He said “I want to shout to the world what Ben has done”. I agree Bryan, so today I am shouting a small bit on your behalf.
Ben you are a little hero.
Here is Pa Currans song. “Unintentional Hero”. I will hopefully be able to share the video with you in a few weeks time. You can read more about it and the inspiring stories of so many young and older donors, who became “Unintentional Heros” on their facebook page.
Today I add my voice in order to highlight the need for everyone to consider organ donation. Please have that conversation. Make sure your intention is recorded on your drivers license and with your family. Someday you may be grateful someone else was so generous.