GLAMOUR model Danni May is appealing for Wearsiders to sign the organ donor register after the death of her cousin meant others could be saved.
Former Monkwearmouth School pupil and Sunderland graduate Louise Smith was just 34 when she died from an aneurism.
Her death came just days after giving birth to a little girl, Ava Grace Louise Smith Sayers, in October.
Although still devastated by her untimely death, Louise’s family, including her partner, John Henry Sayers, have found some comfort in the fact that seven of her organs could be donated to save lives.
Mum-of-one Danni, who lives in Barnes, said: “Louise filled out a donor card a couple of years ago and encouraged me to do the same.
“It was something she felt really strongly about.
“Since her death, John has received letters from people who’ve received her organs including a man who thanked Louise for giving his kids their dad back.”
She added: “It seems crazy that we have an opt-in system of organ donation instead if an opt-out system like other countries.”
Louise had returned home healthy and looking forward to motherhood after giving birth to Ava. But just 48 hours later, after complaining of a migraine, Louise, formerly of Bright Street, Roker, collapsed.
She was taken to Newcastle’s RVI where she was put on a life support machine for five days before medics made the difficult decision to turn it off.
Danni and the rest of Louise’s family are now hoping to raise funds for the family room at the RVI.
She said: “I slept on the floor of the family room with Louise’s mam for five nights. It was really cold and basic.
“We all dossed on the floor while we waited for news of her coming round.
“We want to raise enough money to provide chairs which will have Louise’s image on and a coffee machine, to make it a better place for people at the worst time of their lives.”
Danni has teamed up with staff at Ramsay & Johnson salon who are joining the family on a sponsored walk of Scafell Pike in the Lake District, the highest mountain in England, in January.
Sponsor forms will be available in the salon on Blandford Street, Sunderland.