Monday 18 November 2019

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Aisling's final gift as father urges organ donation

Thursday, 7th November, 2019 8:56am

Four successful organ donations have taken place following the death of a 21 year old woman over the weekend.

Aisling O’Connor, originally from Skibbereen but now living in Donegal, passed away a kayaking accident on the River Caragh in Kerry. The 21 year old’s father, David, wrote a letter to local radio station Cork's 96FM, encouraging people to donate their organs after they die. Since writing the first letter, in a follow-up David said that Aisling's organs had been used for four successful transplants.

He wrote: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those individuals in wishing them a full and speedy recovery and onward healthy and happy lives. The gift of life we all possess through organ donation is something very real and tangible. Just ask those four individuals. No greater tribute can be paid to Aisling’s memory than to follow her example.”

Aisling was a third year student studying biochemistry in UL on a kayak trip with her friend which “unfortunately turned out to be her last”, David said.

“There would not be enough time or words for me to convey to you the essence and character of this simply wonderful and special person. She enriched the lives of everyone she encountered. (She was) loving, bubbly, bright, vivacious, caring. I could go on and on. (She was) always taking care and looking out for others. She was a role model in every sense of the word and set the example for many especially for her brothers Ciaran and Matthew and her sisters Clodagh and Maeve.”

David’s letter continued: “The reason I write to you is to highlight the importance of organ donation. I know you have covered this topic before, but if you could please spare another 30 seconds or so to reach out to your listeners and emphasize the importance of organ donation I would be very grateful. Incredibly, within ten minutes of her being pronounced dead, the liver transplant team identified Aisling as a perfect match for a patient of theirs.

“Even in death, Aisling continues to care for, enrich and help others in need. My hope is that all of her organs are viable and will give the gift of life to those who need it. Aisling would not have had it any other way.”

The letter concluded: “Whilst our lives are shattered and will never be the same again, it is important for your listeners to know the gift of life we all possess through organ donation, even in the face of tragic loss and heartbreaking senseless death of someone so young.

“Please think of Aisling and wish her well on her onward journey where I know she is lighting up the lives of everyone she encounters.”

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