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Hannah’s Legacy – Organ Donor Awareness Week 2024

Written by Marie Kealy, Timahoe, Co Laois, who, along with husband Denis, made the selfless decision to donate their daughter Hannah’s organ after she passed away aged just two.

In July 2022 our world was turned upside down when our 2 year old little girl was in a tragic accident and four days later passed away in Temple Street hospital.

Hannah, was our only child, she was the light of our lives and ruled the house! She had the wildest blondest hair and the darkest brown eyes which really made her stand out anywhere we went. She was a strong, independent, funny, easy going little lady and always did things her own way! And it was always easier to do things Hannah’s way!!
She loved nothing more than being outside and helping her daddy Denis feed the calves in the evenings. She loved having a job to do, whether it was helping emptying the dishwasher or filling the washing machine. She was always there beside me helping! Her favourite programme was Masha and the Bear and I could often see some of Masha’s mischievous ways come out in Hannah!!

After a couple of days in Temple Street Children’s Hospital we were told Hannah was brain stem dead and there was no hope for her recovery.
When we realised we weren’t getting the miracle we all so desperately hoped for that week we made the profound decision to donate our little girl’s organs. For us it meant if even just one family weren’t put into the situation we were in then that enough but our little Hannah went on to save four families!

Hannah’s little heart was donated to a little boy, a part of her liver to a premature baby, her small bowel and hemi colon to another small boy, and her kidneys to a young mammy! She became the miracle that those four families hoped for, for so long, and that brings us some peace. To think there are parts of our little girl working away in other people is a surreal feeling at times.

All the staff in Temple Street were amazing during our days up there and nothing was ever too much for them and the care Hannah was given was exceptional.

Lynn and Brenda, from Organ Donation Transplant Ireland, facilitated the organ donation process for Hannah with exceptional care and compassion during such a challenging time in our lives. Lynn stayed by Hannah’s side throughout the organ retrieval and the following morning, and knowing  that  provides Denis and me with immeasurable comfort, that Hannah was never alone. We will forever be grateful for their support.

While I can’t begin to imagine the anguish for parents of having a critically ill child waiting for an organ transplant in order to survive, I am all too familiar with the pain of losing a child. It is this shared experience that drove myself and Denis to choose organ donation for Hannah.

Despite the reluctance to even think about such a possibility, the reality is that children, too, can be organ donors, although it may not be a widely considered option.   As parents, we would have done anything to save Hannah, and if it meant accepting an organ from another child, we would have embraced it without hesitation. Knowing that Hannah’s donation could potentially save multiple lives, including children, brought us solace amidst our grief. Her memory lives on in the four lives she has saved and the countless others she has touched through her precious gift of organ donation.

Just four years before we tragically lost Hannah, my husband’s uncle became an organ donor and gave the gift of life to a stranger who received a liver transplant. Knowing his selfless legacy undoubtedly influenced our decision to donate Hannah’s organs when the time came. Then, just last year, one of my cousins underwent a kidney transplant, made possible by the generosity of a deceased donor’s family. This act of kindness had a ripple effect, touching the lives of not only the recipient but also their families, friends, and the communities they are part of.

These experiences have reinforced my family’s belief in the power of organ donation and its ability to bring solace and comfort to donor families like ours. Witnessing the transformative impact of transplantation on the lives of others in our extended family has provided us with a sense of peace, knowing that through Hannah’s gift, her legacy lives on in the countless lives she has touched.

While no parent should ever have to face such a heartbreaking decision, we hope that by sharing Hannah’s story, others will understand the profound impact of organ donation. Hannah’s gift is a testament to the fact that organ donation saves lives. We take pride in our little angel, and we will ensure that her baby brother knows about her courageous deed when he is older.


Visit for more information and to request an Organ Donor Card.