A Kenilworth family have taken solace from the fact that three lives have been saved following their decision to allow the organ donation of a liver, kidneys and pancreas.
And now Sylvia Davies has been posthumously awarded The Order of St John for Organ Donation at a special ceremony in Warwick.
The 59-year-old was seemingly fit and healthy, but suffered a sudden brain aneurysm while at home.
Despite efforts by staff at Warwick Hospital, the family were told within hours that they could not save her. And because she had never expressed a wish to donate, the family then had to go through the heartfelt decision on whether to allow her organs to be used for transplant.
But her husband Sam said the decision was made easier by their knowledge of her caring nature and that she would have wanted to help others.
He said: “Not least on account of her strong Christian faith and caring compassionate nature, we are certain that, in this, Sylvia’s wishes have been fulfilled as she would so dearly have wanted.
“She was a very committed Christian and we thought that’s what she would have wished.”
Mr Davies and the family then had to agree to allow Sylvia to be kept alive on a ventilator for 36 hours until suitable recipients were available for organ transplant.
“It was naturally extremely distressing and there was a reluctance to say farewell before she was finally taken to the theatre,” said Mr Davies, of Villiers Road.
Mrs Davies worshipped for many years at St John’s in Kenilworth, and in later years at St Barnabas in Albion Street, affectionately known as the “Tin Tabernacle”.
“There is nothing that can ever alleviate the profound anguish, grief and pain caused by the sudden and unexpected loss of our dearest beloved Sylvia,” said Mr Davies, speaking on behalf of the family.
“She was an adored and beloved wife, a devoted loving mother and a much-loved sister, aunt, great-aunt and grandmother.
However, the family have been able to derive much comfort that, through the Organ Donor Service, her passing has brought hope and happiness to three other families whose loved ones would not have survived without suitable donor organs being available.”
“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank staff of the Blood and Transplant Services within the NHS for their professionalism, and for the kindness and humanity shown to the family at this most distressing and difficult time.
“Where there is sadness, sorrow and despair may they bring gladness, comfort and joy.”
Mr Davies and his children Matthew, aged 32, and Andrea, aged 20, were honoured for allowing the transplants with the bestowal of the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation at a ceremony in Shire Hall, Warwick, attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, Tim Cox.
Mr Davies, aged 62, who holds a doctorate in space physics, took early retirement from the University of Warwick following the death of his wife in February to be the full-time carer for his daughter, who suffers from ME.
And he added: “Our hope is that with the success of the transplants and the news of it, that it has a positive effect to encourage donors and to encourage families to think about donating.”