A 13-year-old girl who died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm has had her organs transplanted to eight people - the largest number in the history of the organ donation service

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A 13-year-old girl who died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm has had her organs transplanted to eight people - the largest number in the history of the organ donation service.
Jemima Layzell was “lovely – clever, funny, compassionate and creative”, said her mother, Sophy Layzell, 43, a drama teacher from Horton in Somerset. Just a couple of weeks before her sudden collapse in March 2012, the family had a conversation about organ donation because a family friend had died in a car crash.
“They were on the register but their organs couldn’t be donated because of the circumstances of their death,” said Sophy. “Jemima had never heard of organ donation before and found it a little bit unsettling, but totally understood the importance of it.”
Her parents found the decision hard, but are glad they made it. Jemima’s heart, small bowel, and pancreas were transplanted into three people. Two people received her kidneys. Her liver was split and transplanted into another two people, while her lungs were transplanted into one patient.
The eight recipients included five children, who came from all over England.
Jemima collapsed during the preparations for her mother’s 38th birthday party and died in hospital four days later. A brain aneurysm, rare in a child, is a swelling in an artery wall and there are no symptoms unless it ruptures. When it bursts, it causes a haemorrhage in the brain which can kill or cause lasting damage.
Her parents set up the Jemima Layzell Trust in her memory to help survivors. “If Jemima had survived, the ruptured aneurysm would have severely affected her communication and the right side of her body,” they say on the trust website.
Her parents went through clothes and possessions, looking for clues as to why she had died so young. They didn’t find them, but they did discover about 20 diaries and notebooks she had been keeping since she was four years old. These they have turned into a book, called The Draft, sales of which will raise funds for the charity.
They tell the story of her brief life.
Saturday 9 July 2011
Dear Diary
It is times like this when I sit and wonder ‘where’s my Romeo? What happened to my Prince Charming?’ But then I stop and think, do I really deserve him?
... I want to leap out of bed, draw back the curtains and gaze out into the night.
To lean out the window, sing for my true love, the love I do not yet
possess and possibly never will. If only I weren’t so afraid.
Monday 8 August 2011
Some people say that God can’t exist because if he did he would help all the poor people in the world.
I object to that. I feel their despair but WE have to help them. They
are there because we did this to them. They are there because we have a
wrong to right. They are there to stop us from turning into complete
monsters before it’s too late.
One extract even foretells the future:
Sunday 7 August 2011
Anyway I need to write what I think and feel. Not all that you see
here actually ‘happened’ but it’s still very real to me. I don’t care if
I let my imagination run away with me!
Plenty of brilliant artists and writers were mad! In fact it made their work more interesting! Even if they did cut their ears off, commit suicide, run round doing crazy stuff etc etc. 
People still loved them and their work just the same. And I want to be loved too. I almost feel as though I will never live long enough to become an author, to be married and have a family.
Her mother, her father, Harvey, 49, the manager of a building company, and her sister, Amelia, aged 17, run the Jemima Layzell Trust, which also promotes organ donation. They are proud that Jemima’s organs helped eight other lives continue.
“Shortly after Jemima died, we watched a programme about children awaiting heart transplants and being fitted with Berlin Hearts in Great Ormond Street hospital,” said her mother. “It affirmed for us that saying ‘no’ would have been denying eight other people the chance for life, especially over Jemima’s heart, which Harvey had felt uncomfortable about donating at the time.
“We feel it’s very important for families to talk about organ donation. Every parent’s instinct is to say no, as we are programmed to protect our child. It’s only with prior knowledge of Jemima’s agreement that we were able to say yes.”
NHS Blood and Transplant is hoping Jemima’s story will encourage more families to have the crucial conversation, because a shortage of donated organs is costing hundreds of lives every year, it says.
Last year, 457 people died waiting for a transplant, including 14 children. There are 6,414 people on the transplant waiting list including 176 children.
Anthony Clarkson, of NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “Every donor is special and Jemima’s unique story shows the extraordinary difference a few words can make. Hundreds of people are still dying unnecessarily waiting for a transplant because too many families say no to organ donation.
“Please tell your family you want to donate, and if you are unsure, ask yourself; if you needed a transplant would you accept one? If so, shouldn’t you be prepared to donate?”

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