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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Cumbrian mum collects award on behalf of daughter whose death has saved lives

The mother of a young woman who died from a brain tumour just hours after her son was born has collected a posthumous award for her organ donation.

Rosie Kremer photo
Rosie Kremer

Rosie Kremer was just 24 when she died at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, in May last year. She was 29 weeks pregnant when the undiagnosed tumour struck, causing her to slip into a coma. As a result, her son Bobby had to be delivered early, weighing just 2lbs 15oz.

Although his mother did not survive, eight people were able to live as a result, after Rosie, from Penrith, had made it clear to her mother, Lesley, that should anything ever happen to her, she wanted her organs to be donated.

Lesley was yesterday presented with the Order of St John for organ donation by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester at a ceremony at St James’s Palace in London. Rosie was nominated for the award by the organ donation team at Newcastle.

Since Rosie’s death, Lesley and her family have had an ongoing relationship with the team.

Lesley, whose husband Pete died from cancer when Rosie was just 13, had discussed organ donation with Rosie and her other two daughters, Ruth and Jo, because Pete had wanted to be an organ donor.

Pete, who was head of PE at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith, knew his organs had been too damaged for him to be a suitable donor.

He found it heartbreaking when a man in the same ward died because he was unable to get a heart and lung transplant, and the entire family pledged their support to organ donation at the time.

Lesley said: “It’s not the way you think it’s going to be. They didn’t approach me, I approached them. You choose which organs you want to donate and all along, they kept saying, ‘are you sure about this?’.”

Rosie was kept on life support while tests were carried out to establish the viability of her organs and her family was able to stay with her during this time.

Lesley said: “Because it was so awful and tragic, I also thought, ‘this can’t be the end’. Although we’ve got Bobby, it is comforting to know that there is someone walking around with her heart.”

Bobby, who was initially placed on a ventilator to help him breathe, returned home with Lesley within a week of his due date, and he also regularly sees his father Mark Davies. He is now 15 months old, walking, and already showing signs of his mother’s personality, his grandmother said.

“I think he’s going to have her laugh and he has just started trying to put his Lego pieces in the wood burning stove and I can remember Rosie breaking a video player by putting Lego in it!” said Lesley. “It’s hard, but lovely, when you see things like that.”

Bobby, who calls Lesley “Nana”, also shows an interest in pictures of his mother, pointing at them, saying “ma ma ma”.

“I don’t know if he understands who she is, but we’ve made a memory box for him with a DVD of her and lots of photos,” said Lesley.

Rosie was one of 35 people to be posthumously awarded.

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