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Ken - As good as you can get

By Jo

The one word that described my late partner Ken is ‘'helpful'’. Always pitching in - setting up marquees, fixing broken items around our home or at friends'’, or just lending a hand to ensure things worked. If he found problems he solved them in a quirky way.

So it'’s fitting that even in death he'’s helping others. Five to be exact - who are able to live a better and more comfortable life, as Ken donated two corneas, two kidneys and a pair of lungs.

Ken was a practical but really fun-loving person who enjoyed life to the fullest. He was a ‘'bridesmaid’' at the wedding of some running friends, complete with red dress, hosiery and a hair fascinator.

We had talked in general with mates about the fact '‘you can't take it with you'’, and both of us had agreed to have Organ Donor on our driver'’s licences years ago, although you never really think it might be needed.

At 55 Ken was in Intensive Care on a ventilator, after suffering a massive heart attack and the prognosis was bleak. His loving family and I had to make some decisions.

Luckily the person who was relaying all the information to us was an absolutely wonderful ICU consultant - kind without condescension, factual rather than clinical, and happy to answer the questions of a grieving family.

He reassured me I had done as much as possible and that without my CPR and the OOO call, Ken'’s family, who mostly live hours away, could not have said goodbye.

That word - GOODBYE. So very final.

We felt a terrible loss and grief, but the glimmer of hope and perhaps comfort was that others would benefit from his generosity.

It is empowering that a nearby stranger could potentially have Ken working in their body.

We shared 13 amazing years. If the recipients can have that, or more, they'’re not only privileged but doing exactly what he would expect - being as good as you can get.

Jo