We all like to think we are invincible and will live to a ripe old age. We like to believe our children will also, but that is not always the case. One moment in time can change everything. This is organ donation week, a week to remind us to have ‘the talk’ and a week to remember those who are missed so badly, but also remembered every day by those who owe them their life.
This month three years ago a small boy was racing into school each day. He was delighting his family with his love of life. No one could have predicted that come October he would be gone. He was six years old.
Ben was his name.
Ben became unwell one night and was rushed to hospital in Cork, Ireland. From there he was transferred to Dublin and flown to the UK. While his parents kept vigil there was talk of a liver transplant. They waited and hoped. Then only a day or so later they were told it was not possible, there was nothing more could be done.
Can you imagine that pain? The shock of seeing your small boy so unwell, the desperate hope that someone else’s tragedy will help save your son and the crushing pain on hearing that transplant is no longer an option. You were going to have to say goodbye to your precious boy? In the midst of that unimaginable distress and pain, Ben’s mum and dad agreed to donate his organs. Ben, aged six years, saved and enhanced the lives of seven others.
Today, and every day I feel like telling the world around me what he did. I can’t do that, but as this week is organ donation awareness week I can. It is a week to remember Ben and those like him who saved so many lives. It is also a week to thank those, like Ben’s mum and dad, who in the moment of greatest pain they could ever experience, thought of others.
None of us know our futures and some day we too may be faced with heartache like Ben’s family. Why not take the time this week to think about organ donation and most importantly tell your family your wishes.
Ben’s family participated in this amazing video written and performed by Pa Curran. It features the families of those who received organs along with the families of those who so selflessly agreed to donate organs. Each family is holding a photo of those they have loved and lost. It will make you cry but it is a very powerful video. It reminds us all, that it could be any one of us giving or receiving.
As you read this I would also ask you all to take a moment to salute young Ben and his family. I know his family will read this and it would be good for them to see your support. As time passes it is easy for them to believe that the rest of us have forgotten Ben. I’d like them to know that is not the case. Young Ben, unintentional hero we salute you.
(Ben is at 2.24 on the video)