A BROTHER is urging people to donate their organs after his sister gave four people the gift of life.
Edd Gardiner today told of the difficult decision to donate Claire’s heart, pancreas, kidneys and liver minutes after her death.
The 30-year-old died suddenly after suffering with migraines for weeks.
She had been diagnosed as having a 10cm by 10cm brain tumour after CT scans and died after a reaction to medication to reduce brain swelling.
“The medical staff could not operate because the swelling on her brain was too high,” said Edd, 28.
“They looked after her during the night, then the next day she was pronounced dead.
“After that, the doctors completed brain stem death tests.
“The next bit was hard.
“The organ transplant team asked if we would allow Claire to donate her organs, even though she had an organ donor card.
“My mum, Donella, had to make that decision minutes after they told us Claire was dead.
“Claire made the decision when she was 17 that she would like to donate her organs.”
Claire’s choice helped save three people in their 20s and one man in his 60s.
Edd said: “It was just before Christmas, and in a weird way I would say she gave them the best present they could ever receive.”
Claire had visited doctors before she was diagnosed with migraines last month and died in hospital on December 20.
“She was given medication, but nothing could stop the nausea or pain,” said Edd.
“My brother, Matt, took her to A&E on December 17 and after some fluids she was feeling a little better and was discharged.
“He took her back the next morning because she couldn’t open her left eye.
“After the CT scan she needed immediate intensive care and a bed was found for her at the James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.”
Claire, a trained St John Ambulance first aider, had lived in Eppleton and attended Hetton School.
She became an immigration case worker, before working for the DHL delivery firm in the NHS supply chain.
“She moved jobs, looking for new challenges and more money to feed her handbag, shoe and holiday addictions,” said Edd.
For her 30th birthday last October, she paid for her youngest brother Matt, 25, his partner Lesley Medland, 20, Edd and his wife Gayle, 25, and Claire’s friend Miriam Rasoul, 37, to go and share her celebration in Rome.
“She would help anyone she could and gave money to homeless charities,” added Edd.
Matt has set up a Just Giving page in Claire’s memory, www.justgiving.com/Matthew-Gardiner1
The money will go to The Salvation Army and her family plan to continue to raise money for the charities she helped.