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The family of a patient who passed away in Morriston Hospital has donated a collection of toys to the children’s wards to help keep his memory alive.
But the presents are nothing compared to the gift of life that has resulted from the deceased being an organ donor.
Left: Marc Leach and his son Lincoln
Marc Leach passed away on 5th May, of this year, in Morriston Hospital, following a period in critical care.
The 25-year-old, who worked as a chef in a Carmarthen restaurant, leaves behind a 5-year-old son, Lincoln.
On what would have been his 26th birthday, his family and friends met up at Marc’s place of work where the idea of keeping his memory alive for his son was hatched.
Marc’s mother, Michelle Francis, said: “On his birthday this year, on 18 November, we all got together and decided to do a toy drive for the children’s ward in Morriston, to give them new toys.
“Marc has an amazing little boy called Lincoln, who is the spitting image of his daddy. I wanted to keep my son’s memory alive so that his own son would never forget him.
“Next year we are going to do a donor drive and raise money for mental health services.”
When it became apparent that Marc would not survive his mother spoke to members of the organ donation team.
Michelle said: “Marc had told us he wanted to be a donor. Because his uncle had benefitted from receiving a kidney in the past, he wanted to give back.
“I’m also a registered donor, I was supposed to give one of my kidneys to my brother but a donor came up instead.”
Although the recipients of donated organs remain confidential Michelle has been told that her son’s decision has already helped save lives.
She said: “His kidneys have gone to two people, his liver has gone to another. I believe he has saved three or four people.”
It is a bittersweet thought for Michelle.
“I’m chuffed to bits that he has saved lives but I wish he was still here as he would have only been 26 this year.”
Calling on everyone to at least have a conversation on the subject of donations, she said: “We don’t need our organs when we die but there are people out there who do need them. They are just going to waste.”
Michelle thanked those who looked after her son in his final days.
“The nurses and doctors in intensive care laughed with us and they cried with us. They were absolutely amazing.
“They were part of the family in the end. They knew a lot about Marc from listening us talking about what he was like and what he got up to.”
Kathryn Gooding (Main picture with Marc’s mother, Michelle Francis), Swansea Bay UHB specialist nurse organ donation, said: “Organ donation really does save and improve the lives of others.
“Thanks to Marc’s donation and the bravery of his family to support the decision other lives were saved.”
Of the presentation of toys to the hospital she said: “This initiative is a lovely way of remembering Marc and his generous gift of life and hopefully to bring a smile to the children who will benefit from the toy drive.”