'Katherine gave a gift no one else could'

Published Tuesday, 13 November 2012
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The family of a young woman who died in a car crash near Portadown say she was able to help a young baby live through organ donation.

'Katherine gave a gift no one else could'
Katherine Kelley died in a car crash near Portadown. (© UTV)

Just six weeks ago, 21-year-old Katherine Kelley was a bridesmaid at her sister Samantha Mackle's wedding.

Described as a "bright and bubbly" person, she loved going out and she was returning home from a night out nine days ago when she tragically lost her life in a fatal car crash on the Armagh Road.

Katherine was rushed to Craigavon Area Hospital but her family were told that she wasn't going to survive.

On hearing the news, dozens of friends went to the hospital to say goodbye and try and provide some comfort to her relatives.

"There were so many people who turned up, the corridor was jam-packed with people," her sister told UTV Live Tonight.

"Two waiting rooms were packed with people. People in the canteen, smoking area, everywhere.

"Just standing about telling other people stories about how Katherine had a good influence in their life, things that they had said about her that we wouldn't know. It was nice to have that experience of comfort and happiness."

Four others were involved in the one-vehicle collision and another passenger in the car that night, Claire Gough, remains critically ill in hospital.

She had such an impact on anyone's life that she met. If you met her once, when you were out, you would remember her for years.

David Kelley

Her sister and brother both describe a lively girl who loved socialising and was very close with her family.

"I would have come down on a Thursday night to see my mum and she would have been the first person through the door and say well how are you?" Katherine's brother, David said.

"She would have grabbed the two kids and just hugged them, played with them. She was so lively, so bubbly. She was one in a million.

"She just had that sort of personality, it just clicked with everyone," he added.

David said he is dreading the reality of losing Katherine sinking in.

They said the decision to donate Katherine's organs came about when Samantha remembered Katherine had mentioned her intention to sign the donor register.

She would have done anything for anyone, you know, so to know that she was helping someone would have been a wee bit of comfort for her too.

Samantha Mackle

"I remembered that she said that she wanted to do it and I have tried to do everything the way she would have wanted it done," Samantha said.

"I think everybody should, you know, think about having a donor card. You know it is a good thing - you are giving a good gift to someone else."

Katherine's liver was donated to a six-month-old baby in London and her siblings say they will be informed of how the infant is doing after receiving the life-saving gift.

David said: "Whenever I actually sat down and thought about it... she was giving a gift to someone that no one else could give. There'll be a wee part of her walking about in someone else. And it's comforting too."
© UTV News
Comments Comments
John Craig in East Belfast wrote (809 days ago):
Will b missed dearly, always had a smile on her face, thinkin of friends and family at this dreadful time, and good luck to the baby that had the transplant
Frosty in Here wrote (809 days ago):
I'm sorry for the family and friends' loss. A tragic story but one of so few these days that is actually newsworthy. God bless you Katherine. One in a billion.
Ciaran in Belfast wrote (810 days ago):
Such a tragic end to the life of a beautiful young girl but with an amazing gift she has given in death i have always made it clear to my family that i would like my organs donated.
susan kee in Lisburn wrote (810 days ago):
Thankyou for highlighting the importance of Organ Donation. To donate your organs after your death is the greatest gift you can ever make. Also for those in need of a transplant it is the greatest gift you can ever receive. The fact that a 6 month old baby received Katherine's liver demonstrates the chronic shortage of people donating organs. There is no doubt that Katherine has saved lives. Thankyou
michelle sloan in ballymartin wrote (810 days ago):
Awww That was such an emotional interview and watching my little cousins beautiful face just broke my heart he brother david and sister samantha did an amazing interview so proud of my family miss u Katherine xx
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