A Brechin mother, who lost her son to a brain haemorrhage and donated his organs to numerous people from as young as ten months up to 48 years old, is urging people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register during National Transplant Week (July 4 – July 10).
Mayra Crowe, a lecturer in Spanish at the University of Dundee, is supporting this year’s National Transplant Week campaign after her son Andrew passed away in October of last year.
Fifteen-year-old Andrew Crowe, who lived in Brechin, died peacefully at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee after having suffered a brain haemorrhage.
Andrew was born in Mexico City at a time when Mexico was going through a political and economic crisis, so his parents decided to move back to his father’s home town of Brechin.
He grew up surrounded by a close community and kind friends, and he and his younger brother Stuart were inseparable.
The pair grew up playing sports and, when Andrew was 14-years-old, he became completely focused on what he wanted to do when he left school - to become a Royal Marine.
Mayra said: “There was no stopping Andrew. He was dedicated to keeping fit, eating healthily, reading and doing whatever was needed to achieve his goal.
“He joined the cadets and during his time there he became a corporal.
“He was conscientious about current affairs and he wanted to help the injured soldiers.
“He made plans to raise money for both Help for Heroes and the Royal Marines Trust Fund.
“Andrew wanted to run marathon distances to help those charities. He had big dreams.
“One day he learned of the death of a Royal Marine serving in Afghanistan, who had been based at RM Condor.
“He was deeply affected and emotionally moved by this.
“At the age of 14, he decided to buy some white roses and run all the way from Brechin to Arbroath and deliver those flowers as a tribute to someone who had given his life to serve his country.
“That day he impulsively ran a total of approximately 28 miles for a total stranger, which shows a part of Andrew’s caring nature, dedication and levels of fitness.”
However, tragedy struck when Mayra was contacted while she was in Arbroath one day informing her that Andrew had been taken to Ninewells as he had suffered a brain haemorrhage.
By the time Mayra and husband Alistair arrived there, Andrew had stopped breathing.
Mayra continued: “It is not easy to receive the news that your child is going to die, that there is nothing that can be done to make it better, to give you hope, to see him smiling again and to see him achieving his dreams in life.
“When Stuart arrived at the hospital, we all sat together and thought about what Andrew would have done.
“He was now in the position to help others once more, to give a gift, the gift of life, hope and love and to serve somehow a bigger cause. And he has.
“Andrew’s heart is still beating away and giving another little boy the opportunity to fulfil his own dreams.
“He has helped at least nine people to improve their lives if not save them.
“The decision was not difficult. Andrew made it so easy for us to take.”
There have been many tributes in Andrew’s memory - sponsored walks, a charity football match at Glebe Park, a mural at Brechin High School where he attended, a bench at Barry Buddon and a tree to be planted at RM Condor.
Andrew’s dream of helping his charities has become a reality. Nevertheless, one of his biggest gifts has been to give hope to others and to allow parents to see their children grow up and for children to see their parents as they grow up. He has helped not just one, but many lives.
Mayra added: “My son has been an inspiration to me and many others who knew him. My drive to keep going and my example of generosity to follow comes from Andrew.
“Since Andrew’s death I have signed up to the Organ Donor Register.
“We all know someone who has health problems, someone in need and someone that could benefit from a gift. Andrew’s life is a life that goes on, a gift that keeps giving.
“I would wish that no one would ever have to take such a decision, and I hope you would never be presented with the question. One just needs to be aware that this gift called life presents us sometimes with adversity, how would you face it? Have you thought about giving a gift of life?”
The theme of this year’s National Transplant Week campaign is ‘What are you waiting for?’ and aims to highlight the anxious and uncertain wait by patients needing an organ transplant.
NHS Tayside lead clinician for organ donation Stephen Cole said, “People can make a permanent record of their wishes by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. Join the Organ Donor Register by calling 0300 123 23 23 or visiting www.organdonation.nhs.uk”