THE young Skibbereen woman who died tragically after a kayaking accident in Kerry gave the gift of life through organ donation.
Within 10 minutes of Aisling O’Connor being pronounced dead, the national liver transplant team identified Aisling as ‘a perfect match’ for one of their patients.
Aisling – who only turned 21 on September 1st last – lived the first 10 years of her life in Skibbereen with her parents David O’Connor and his wife Sorcha – before moving to Donegal.
More recently, she was living as a third-year biochemistry student at the University of Limerick. And it was as part of a student outing that she went to Caragh Lake in Killarney at the weekend.
Both Aisling and a male student got into difficulty and it is believed she was submerged for a time about 2km upstream from Caragh Lake at 2.30pm on Saturday, November 2nd.
There was a full multi-agency response to the incident and Aisling was described as being in a critical condition when she was airlifted to University Hospital Kerry in Tralee.
It was here that she lost her battle for life, leaving her family and her friends bereft. In an email to 96FM, her father, David, spoke about how they are all felt ‘shattered.’
‘In the face of tragic loss and the heart-breaking senseless death of someone so young, it is important to know the gift of life we all possess through organ donation,’ he said.
Her dad spoke with pride of how, ‘even in death, Aisling continues to care for, enrich and help others in need.’
He said his beautiful daughter had, for the last 21 years, enriched the lives of everyone she encountered through her loving, bubbly, bright, vivacious and caring nature.
‘She was a role model in every sense of the word and set the example for many, especially her brothers Ciaran and Matthew, and her sisters Clodagh and Maeve.