A British girl named Jemima Layzell sadly passed away from an unexpected brain aneurysm at the ripe young age of 13. Her death was not in vain, though. Through a record number of organ donations, she saved the lives of eight people.
Her mother, Sophy Layzell, a drama teacher, remembers Jamima as, “lovely – clever, funny, compassionate and creative.” Sophy said that in a weird twist of fate, she and Jemima had discussed organ donation weeks before her collapse. “Jemima had never heard of organ donation before and found it a little bit unsettling, but totally understood the importance of it.” Not too far into the future, she had bittersweet first-hand experience with it.
Five children and three adults were saved by her organs. Two people got her kidneys, and two people got her liver (livers can be split into pieces and still work). Her small bowel, heart, and pancreas were given to three separate people. Finally, her lungs were given to one person.
During a preparation for Sophy’s birthday party, Jemima collapsed and was hospitalized for four days before passing away. There is no way to tell that an aneurysm exists in the brain until it tears and causes horrific damage.
Jemima is survived by her parents and her 17-year-old sister. To keep the memory of Jemima alive, as well as to help other kids who might have brain problems, the Layzells set up The Jemima Layzell Trust.
It’s important to check if you are an organ donor, and speak to your loved ones about if they’d like to be, as it can save multiple lives. Sophy now believes “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.” But at least eight people get a second shot at life because the Layzells said ‘yes.’