Byline: David Nix and Jane
"Rebecca was a gentle, caring child who always put others first. So it came as no surprise when, aged seven, she presented us with a consent form to become an organ donor.
We signed the form and over the years it sat in her wallet and we never gave it another thought. Not until that fateful night in November 1996, when we received a phone call that would change our lives forever.
Rebecca was 21 and she'd been working in America as an au pair for the previous eight months, looking after three little boys. Jane received a distressed phone call from Rebecca's friend, Donna, who said there'd been a car crash and that Rebecca was dead.
As the night wore on, a doctor from Hartford Hospital Connecticut called to explain what had happened. Apparently, Rebecca had been driving to meet the school bus and crashed head-on into another car.
Suddenly, Jane remembered Rebecca's donor card and we were spurred into action to make sure the doctors knew. I called the hospital and all I remember saying is, 'Take whatever you can from Rebecca'. Unfortunately her heart, lungs and liver couldn't be used because they'd been starved of oxygen. But the next day we learnt that surgeons had removed her eyes, heart valves, sections of her skin and bones. A wave of relief flooded over us. After that, she was flown home to us.
Just a month after her death the first letter came. Rebecca's corneas had restored the sight of a 24-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman. We cried. Her skin had been grafted on to children suffering severe burns. Rebecca's heart valves were given to two men and her bones were used to replace …