Olivia Glennie should have celebrated her 16th birthday last month.

She should also have done her GCSEs in which she was expected to do very well and she should have been planning her Prom night with all her friends.

But in tragic circumstances, the 15-year-old from Newsome - known as Livvie by her family - tragically died leaving her family devastated.

But some good has come out of despair, as three people received organs from Olivia and all are doing well.

Now her parents Alex and Diane have praised the work of the unit and hope to encourage others to become donors.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, her parents first went to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary and at the paediatric intensive care unit at Leeds General Infirmary where she was on a life support machine for five days and the time passed by in a blur. So when doctors asked them about whether they had considered organ donation they were shocked to be faced with something they never thought they would.

Her mum Diane, said: “We just thought if there was to be a shred of comfort at that time, to know that Livvie would be living on in someone else, and her DNA would be continuing in the world, then we wanted it to happen. It’s not an easy decision but it meant a lot to us at that time. We thought it gave Livvie a future which she no longer had”.

The couple went through the lengthy consent process supported throughout by the transplant specialist nurses who arranged for a treasured handprint of Olivia’s to be taken and framed.

Diane added: “They were beautiful human beings both inside and out. They were always thinking of us when they were at work and when they were at home with their own families. We knew we could change our minds at any time but they were with us every step of the way. They are just what any family going through it needs.”

Then 16 days later, on Diane’s birthday, a poignant letter arrived from the Transplant Team. On the outside of the envelope it said only to open when the family felt ready.

Inside, a letter told them three people had received Olivia’s organs – a mum in her 20s with a young child, a man in his 30s and a 13-year-old girl.

Olivia Glennie became a transplant donor after her tragic death
Olivia Glennie became a transplant donor after her tragic death
 

Six months later and a follow-up letter told them the mum was doing “very well”, the man had been able to go on his first holiday in years and the 13-year-old girl had been making excellent progress. Another update will follow one year on.

Diane added: “When the letter arrived on my birthday it was as though Livvie was writing to me and that made it extra special. Some colleagues from school came to the house and Alex read it out to everyone. We were all in tears.”

Alex said: “It gives us comfort knowing that wherever we are we could potentially be walking past the `13-year-old girl who has received her liver and that means a lot to us. If that girl goes on to have children then we know Olivia will live on too. We do hope that in the future we may meet all the people Livvie helped.”

The couple, who have two daughters, Laura and Lucy, are now facing the future with the support of friends and family.

They have started fundraising and Diane will run the Jane Tomlinson 10K in Olivia’s memory.

On Sunday, July 6, a VW show will be held in Olivia’s memory at the Post Office pub at Junction 38 on the M1 and all proceeds will go to Eckersley House where the family stayed while Olivia was being cared for in Leeds General Infirmary. School friends have also had special wristbands made in her memory to raise funds and more than 350 have been sold.

The couple are comforted by Olivia’s friends who continue to visit them at home in Blagden Lane and her room has been left at the right level of teenage untidiness!!

They are proud their daughter’s name is on the memorial to organ donors in the entrance at HRI and have an Olivia rose in their garden.

Diane added: “I would say to anyone reading this and thinking about becoming a donor then sign up and tell your family you wish to do it. If they are then in the terrible position we were in, it can help with the decision..... slightly. It will never be an easy one, it will always be heart-breaking but, for us, it made us feel better knowing Olivia will live on.”

Dozens of people are waiting for organs to be donated in Huddersfield and Halifax.

And that’s why local health staff are making a new appeal for people to come forward.

Transplant Week with the slogan of “Spell it Out” starts on July 7 and is encouraging local people to sign up to the organ donor register and “spell it out” to their loved ones to ensure they know their wishes.

The more people on the register the more lives in Huddersfield and Calderdale can be saved or enhanced.

Figures for June 2014 show there are 25 people on the waiting list for a transplant in Halifax and 42 in Huddersfield. Of these, the majority are waiting for a kidney transplant, but others are needing heart, lung, liver, and pancreas transplants.

In the last year, 11 local patients became donors and their organs were transplanted to save and improve the lives of many others.

They include Newsome teenager Olivia Glennie, whose organs helped three people. Their names are added to the memorials at both HRI and CRH and both hospitals have memorial rose gardens dedicated to the “gift of life”.

In Halifax around 50,000 people are on the register and in Huddersfield there are around 80,000.

Alex and Diane Glennie with their daughter Olivia
Alex and Diane Glennie with their daughter Olivia
 

Jayne Greenhalgh, the specialist nurse in organ donation at Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust, supports families through this difficult time and liaises with medical staff during the decision-making and organ donation process.

Jayne, a former ICU Sister by background, said: “More and more people are signing up and telling their loved ones about their wishes and that part is so important. That is why this year’s message for Transplant Week is “Spell It Out!”

“After a loved one has passed away, if their families are clear about their wishes, then it helps them so much to make the decision about donation at what is a very difficult and emotional time.

“At the Trust we also feel it is very important that there is a lasting tribute to all our donors,somewhere for their families to visit if they wish. The rose gardens offer a quiet place to reflect and remember their loved ones, and the memorials are a lasting tribute which can be added to as more and more generous donors and their families give this amazing gift.

“However, we are still in a position where three people die every day waiting for an organ so there is still a huge need for people to sign the register – and tell their loved ones what their wishes surrounding donation are.”

To find out more visit www.chft.nhs.uk , www.transplantweek.org and www.organdonation.nhs.ukClick here to take you back to more Huddersfield news.

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