by MARY MAGEE
Caroline Alexander with a picture of daughter
Laura who was killed in a road accident two
years ago. US4707-123A0
WHEN 13-year-old Laura Alexander was killed a
road accident in 2005 her parents had to make an immediate
decision on donating her organs to give others the gift of life.
They didn't hesitate because the remarkable
young Lisburn girl had already told them that if anything ever
happened that's what she wanted.
Now her mum Caroline is hoping to encourage
others to follow her daughter's remarkable decision by
supporting the My Life My Gift scheme which encourages people to
join the NHS organ donor scheme.
Laura, a pupil at Laurelhill Community
College, made the decision to donate her organs after watching a
special edition of Casualty screened as part of Transplant Week
heart, lungs, kidneys, pancreas and liver, as well as her
corneas and sclera, were all donated and helped transform the
lives of up to six people.
"When Laura died there was one tragedy
instead of six,"
said Caroline. "We were put in a position and made a decision
that Laura would have wanted us to make and that was to help
others. I would like to think that had Laura been in a position
where she needed an organ donation and fighting for her life
someone out there would help her. It was quite an adult decision
for Laura to have made."
Caroline said that organ donation is
something a lot of people do not want to think about. But she
said: "Talk to your children and your next of kin. I myself have
carried a card for the past 20 years. The big thing is to
discuss your decision with your family.
"You can put your name in the register and
carry a card but the ultimate decision will be made by your next
of kin. It is such a big thing."
Since Laura's death Caroline has received a
number of thank-you letters from the people who received the
They include a 17 year old boy who received
her kidney. In the letter he says that as a result of the
donation he can now eat and lead a normal life.
Six weeks after Laura's death Caroline got a
letter from the family of a little girl who received Laura's
whole digestive system. The girl had 40 operations and the
donation has totally transformed her life.
A nine-year-old who suffers from cystic
fibrosis received Laura's lung and she sent a moving thank-you
letter to Caroline. Another girl who received a kidney
"It was heartbreaking to read many of the
letters but it makes me proud that she has done this for other
people," said Caroline
"Laura was always very selfless. We still
miss her deeply today. She was kind, generous and always wanted
to help others and not a day goes by when we don't think about
"Laura was always bright and intelligent so
it didn't surprise me when one day she began to ask questions
about organ donation.
"I am extremely proud of the gift my daughter
made and knowing that her passing wasn't in vain has made it
easier to cope with our tragic loss.
"She would have been chuffed to bits to know
that her decision had brought so much good," she said.
Caroline is supporting the UK Transplant My
Life, My Gift Mailer initiative which is running throughout
As part of the initiative every home in the
province is to receive a special leaflet inviting them to join
the NHS Organ Donor Register during the month.
To find out more about organ donation and
transplantation - or join the register - log on to
www.mylifemygift.org or call the Organ Donor Line on 0845 60