KATHLEEN Warren was “overwhelmed” with joy when she learnt her late husband’s legacy had been a gift of life to three organ recipients.
She first heard the news in July when she received a letter from Donate Life.
“At first, I was reluctant to open it because I was afraid they hadn’t been able to use any of Kevin’s organs,” Kathleen said.
When she could finally bring herself to open the letter she was relieved to discover Kevin’s lungs had breathed life into one man and his kidneys had freed two men who had been on dialysis machines for years.
Forty-one years ago Kevin’s sister had been able to say goodbye to her dialysis machine thanks to a kidney transplant.
“We decided to donate because we knew what it was like to be dependent on a machine, because it took Kevin’s sister years before they found a kidney donor.”
Now Kathleen is urging locals to register as organ donors so they can literally give a bit of themselves back to the community.
“I would encourage everybody to do it. People don’t realise how much it helps others,” she said.
“It’s not only the organs they can use. They can use tissues and the parts of the pancreas to research for diabetes.”
Kevin’s friends remember him as “mister impossible project”, who worked on elaborate projects despite being stuck in a wheelchair.
He opened and closed gates with the clever use of hooks and string, and he made homebrew alcohol with the help of a winch and pulley.
In the last six years of his life, Kevin developed Parkinson’s disease and slowly lost his mental facilities, but Kathleen said still he kept his sense of humour.
“He still enjoyed life. He was fortunate that he had friends who would pick him up every week for lunch.”
“We’re fortunate that we had very strong friendships, growing up in a small town. We’ve both lived here all our lives, and were grateful for that.”