Debbie looking over photos of Jade
On Monday, I had the privledge to meet Debbie. One day, her seven year old daughter, Jade was out playing on the pavement just in front of their home. Debbie was unpacking the shopping in the house when she suddenly heard a bang. When she went out to see what had happened, she was confronted with something every Mother fears. Jade had been hit by a car and was very severely injured. Debbie watched the paramedics and hospital staff do everything they could for Jade but knew as soon as she saw her on the road that she had gone. One of the most amazing things Debbie said to me was that she was pleased they had done all the work they did to try in vain to save Jade because it kept the organs alive and healthy. What an incredibly generous thought to have. Jade saved four lives. You can read more about her here on the UK transplant website "Because of Jade’s gift a ten-month-old baby girl and a 17-month-old baby boy got a new heart and liver, while two adults also got a second chance in life with new kidneys and a pancreas" (UK Transplant). You can also see more about her on her beautiful memorial site here
For the photo shoot, Debbie took me to a lovely little place by the river close to their home. There was a Quay where she used to walk with Jade and a little playground where Jade would play on the swings, climbing frame and slide. It was tremendously moving to be with Debbie there and photograph her doing these things alone. It was also very brave of her to do this at all, let alone take me to a place where there are so many memories of Jade. Debbie is a brave person. She is very involved in campaigning for more people to donate their organs for transplant. She is also immensley proud of her daughter for that last act she did in saving so many lives. For Debbie, something very positive came out of that tragic day.
Jade also has a younger sister who was playing with her at the time of the accident and saw it all happen. They are a truely inspiring family for the way they carry on with great sadness but with so much positivity. When we were waiting for William's transplant and he was so often so very unwell we hoped and prayed every day that his call would come. I knew that the thing that I was fearing the most, that I would loose William, was the very thing our wonderful donor family would be living through on the day we got that call. I used to hate myself for wising this on anyone and really struggled with it. That was, until one day someone told me I was not waiting for a Mother to loose her child, sadly, that is happening every day. I was waiting for a Mother to say yes. I think of the Mother who did say yes every single day. In my mind, I thank her every single day, her and the child whose gift saved William's life and her whole family. It was wonderful to meet Debbie and see that, although she lives with a sadness that only a parent who has lost a child could possibly understand, she also lives with the pride and joy that comes with the knowledge that her precious Jade is a life saver and that was made possible because they said yes. I was really happy with some of the images that were captured for the Gifts of Life exhibition and book. I think they reflect Debbie's sense of loss, of sadness and of pride. I hope so, I really do.