WHEN five-year-old Paddy Heard died suddenly on May 24, his family already knew what his greatest wish would be.
The Heard family had discussed organ donation after a serious car accident put Paddy in the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2011, where he met several children waiting for transplants.
Paddy’s mum Nicol said the whole family, including her husband Murray and children Haylee, 13, and Billy, 11, agreed to donate their son and brother’s organs after he died from a rare brain virus in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital while holidaying around Australia.
“It doesn’t take away the hurt, but it helps,” Ms Heard said.
“One of Paddy’s best friends in the Royal Children’s had a heart transplant and he’s nine now and just amazing.
“Paddy couldn’t get well but he could help someone else. People survived because of Paddy.”
The Heards have now set up Paddy’s Courage to promote organ donation awareness, with the Paddy’s Courage 100-kilometre Great Ocean Road Walk to be held next February during DonateLife Week.
Participants will walk 20 kilometres a day between Apollo Bay and Port Campbell.
Paddy was also a cousin to Ballarat Tay-Sach sufferer, Tommi Knight, who died last year aged just two.
“After what we went through with Tommi and Paddy, it became very important to us to try to save every child you can,” Ms Heard said.
“It’s what your family wants in the end but we just want people to talk about it.
“It’s not everybody’s choice and that’s fine too.”
Ms Heard said Brisbane doctors tried to talk them out of donating Paddy’s organs for compassionate reasons but the whole family was adamant it went ahead.
“Haylee and Billy were in that room and they said to the doctor that that was what they wanted to do,” she said.
“Every day someone waits it puts another child in danger. It’s okay to say no but it makes it easier on the family if you don’t have to think about it.”
For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/PaddysCourage.