£20,000 raised for organ donation since loss of 21 year old to swine flu

Daughter’s tragic death inspires mum’s charitable efforts

By Claire Tennyson

A MOTHER whose daughter died after contracting swine flu while on holiday has raised almost £20,000 towards organ donation.

Lorraine Richie from Four Winds, has been fundraising for NI Transplant Association since her daughter’s tragic passing three years ago.

She recently hosted the Butterfly Ball for the second time in the Europa Hotel to raise much needed funds.

Corinna Richie was 21 when she died while on holiday in Spain, days after undergoing a liver transplant. The South Belfast woman had been complaining to friends of feeling sick but put it down to something she had eaten.

However her condition deteriorated and shortly after it was confirmed she had contracted swine flu.

The young woman was then moved to Barcelona to be treated and underwent a liver transplant almost immediately, however she sadly died soon after.

Since the tragedy, her mum Lorraine has been campaigning for an “opt out” organ donation system to be adopted in Northern Ireland.

Lorraine said the experience of the opt-out system in Spain, when a suitable donor liver was found for her daughter almost instantly, has convinced her of the need for change in Northern Ireland.

“I have always supported organ donation but since this happened to Corinna it has obviously become a lot more important to me,” said Lorraine.

“Nobody wants to talk about dying but I think they would be horrified if they knew how many people could live

“I think it is about education as in Spain it’s just considered natural. .They learn about organ donation  from a young age and that is the difference between the cultures.”

Lorraine has been to Stormont and spoken on local broadcast outlets in a bid to raise awareness for the cause.

The Stormont Assembly recently debated the issue with Health Minister Edwin Poots claiming the time had come for a public debate on presumed consent.

A total of 17 people died between April 2010 and April 2011 waiting for organ transplants, while almost 300 remain on waiting lists.

It also emerged that 184 kidneys were offered to Northern Ireland patients in 2010 and 2011, but had not been used.

“Around 70 per cent of people get cremated here. When I read that and then think of all those people who are dying from organ failure it makes me very sad that people are being cremated before they donate organs.”

Lorraine added the Butterfly Ball is to become an annual event in raising awareness for the cause.

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