13-year-old girl’s donated organs miraculously help 8 people live

By Kalendra Withana
Jemima Layzell, a 13-year old girl from the UK who died of a brain aneurysm in 2012, has helped a record-breaking number of 8 people through donation of her organs.

Five of the patients that benefitted from Jemima’s organs were children residing from all throughout England.

The girl’s parents, Sophy and Harry Layzell, said that the clever and compassionate 13-year old would have been “very proud of her legacy”.

"Everyone wants their child to be special and unique and this among other things makes us very proud,” they said.

Jemima herself collapsed near the date of her mother’s 38th birthday party and then later died in hospital four days after.

Following the death of a family friend, Jemima’s parents got the impression that the 13-year old was willing to be a donor through a conversation with their child about organ donation.

“They were on the register but their organs couldn’t be donated because of the circumstances of their death,” said Jemima’s mother Sophy.

“Jemima had never heard of organ donation before and found it a little bit unsettling, but totally understood the importance of it.”

The 13-year old’s heart, pancreas and small bowel were translated into three patients, while two people received Jemima’s kidneys.

Furthermore, her liver was split and was able to be transplanted into two people, following one patient also receiving both of her lungs.Jemima’s case is a very rare one because usually one donation amounts to 2.6 transplants.

After their daughter’s death, Jemima’s parents alongside her 17-year old sister Amelia established The Jemima Layzell Trust, seeking to promote organ donation and also help young people who suffer with brain injuries.

Jemima’s parents admit that they saw difficulty in the decision to donate their daughter’s organs, but nevertheless they still decided to commence with the process.

In further speaking of Jemima’s passing, mother Sophy said:

“Shortly after Jemima died, we watched a programme about children awaiting heart transplants and being fitted with Berlin Hearts in Great Ormond Street hospital,”

“It affirmed for us that saying ‘no’ would have been denying eight other people the chance for life, especially over Jemima’s heart, which Harvey had felt uncomfortable about donating at the time.

“We feel it’s very important for families to talk about organ donation. Every parent’s instinct is to say no, as we are programmed to protect our child. It’s only with prior knowledge of Jemima’s agreement that we were able to say yes.”

According to the NHS Blood and Transplant Department, the long wait to get a transplant in the UK has resulted in 457 people dying.  

It has also been confirmed that there are currently 6,414 patients in the UK transplant list, including 176 children.
Sources – BBC News, The Guardian

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