Unintentional Hero.

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.

Handsome small Ben.  Saved five lives.
Handsome small Ben.  Saved six  lives.

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.
Codladh Sámh.

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.


30 thoughts on “Unintentional Hero.

  1. A lovely post, Tric. Shortly after Mike passed, I was asked if I would consider organ donation. I was shocked because his illness had caused his heart, lungs, kidneys to slowly shut down. I could not fathom what organ would be of benefit to anyone. His corneas. Our daughters agreed. Their dad would have “given the shirt off his back to anyone in need”, so giving the gift of sight to someone else was so fitting for him. Somewhere, someone will (or already has) received his corneas and will see because of him. Thank you for allowing me to add to your wonderful post.

    1. Oh Deb I didn’t know. What a brave decision to have made. I hope it gives you and your family small comfort at this difficult time. And from what you say it is definitely something Mike would have wanted to do.

      1. Your post made me realize how honored he would have been and how proud we are that even in death, he was able to help someone. It is so humbling.

  2. planning to visit No2 son tomorrow

    my eyesights failing (I have glaucoma)
    I have an enlarged heart
    my liver has been pickled in alcohol for years

    but if any part of my body is of use to any-one else, I will instruct No 2 son that that is my wish

    1. Thanks Duncan. I would have known that you were this type of person. Enjoy your visit.
      Oh and I’ll take the pickled liver!

    1. I have been reading your blog. I am so so sorry for your loss. In November just weeks after young Ben passed away, one of my closest friends young boy lost his fight against leukemia. He was 13. I have written often about him since he was first diagnosed, they are under the leukemia category on my blog.
      I cannot for a moment imagine what you, bens parents, or my young buddies parents are going through. I am glad you were able to give Richies organs, and I hope it is a small comfort to you.
      It was a very brave thing for you to do.

      1. Thank you. When his cousin passed away 10 months before him, he told us he wanted to be a donor. We were just honoring his wishes. He was the brave one. I have come to use everyone’s blogs sorta as a guide to see if I am crazy in my grief or if sone of the feelings I have are normal. After the week of emotions I have had, your post with the song helped me immensely. Thank you again.

  3. What a beautiful, heart tugging post with a vital message, Tric, and one that hits home. Our daughter will most likely need a liver in the next decade or so and our fear is there won’t be one available. When we think that way, which we try not to often, is when the tears flow. So of course we are organ donors and encourage everyone to do the same. Little Ben is no doubt an “unintentional hero” and yet it’s so very sad that he passed so young…thank you for sharing his story and the urgency for organ donors. Take care, Lauren xx

    1. In Ireland thanks to people like Ben and Pa Curran sharing their stories and increasing publicity, more are signing up to organ donation and as a result more are receiving organs.
      I do hope all goes well for your daughter in the future. It is such a worry for you I’m sure, but at least for now you can enjoy her good health.

  4. I love this post Tric. Such a positive focus and a great reminder that really sad time for one family, can bring great relief and happiness to another. If ever something made sense from the senseless loss of a child, organ donation is it x

    1. Thanks Helen. I have seen so many people do amazing things since my friends young boy died. So even though it is so sad, I know so many will “benefit” from the money they have raised, and some have gone on to give blood, go on the bone marrow transplant list or become organ donors.

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