Ballycastle youth volunteer and Cross and Passion student Lucia pictured with Minister Peter Weir.
Lucia, a sixth year student at Cross and Passion College, had her first liver transplant at the age of eight. Following two additional transplants, Lucia is extremely passionate about the incredible gift that organ donation is and in 2015 set up the campaign ‘Live Loudly Donate Proudly’.
Lucia believes that education is key and strives to get organ donation onto the national school curriculum to encourage young people to have educated conversations with family and friends regarding their decision about organ donation. A keen swimmer, Lucia has also competed in the British and World Transplant Games which highlights that the gift of life allows people not only to live, but to thrive. Having just been selected for the 2017 World Transplant Games in Malaga, she wants to make organ donation the norm rather than the exception with ordinary conversations leading to extraordinary gifts.
“Joyful, vibrant and committed” are words Principal Paul McClean used to describe Lucia. “She has accomplished and experienced more in her short years than many of us will over the course of our lives. Lucia has demonstrated an extreme ambition to give back to the donor families who gave her life and to inform others to have a considered conversation with loved one about their wishes.”
The post-primary students, who hail from all corners of Ireland, will be presented with €500 and an engraved silver medallion at the gala awards ceremony on March 23 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin with special guest speaker Irish international rugby player Jordi Murphy. At the gala, two of the 20 students will be named All-Ireland Youth Volunteers of the Year, receiving €1,000, a gold medallion, a crystal trophy for their school and an all-expense paid trip to the United States in May to participate in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony.
“The 20 finalists are extremely passionate about the work they carry out in their local community, and their stories are truly inspiring,” said Andrea McBride, vice president, Pramerica Systems Ireland. “From supporting young people with Down syndrome to travelling to work in an orphanage abroad, they are aiding a broad range of charities and organisations through their selfless acts of volunteerism. It is humbling to see the commitment and dedication from these young people, and we are honoured to recognise the volunteering they are doing in their local schools, communities and abroad to make the lives better of those less fortunate than themselves.”
The programme is run in partnership with the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) and the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI). The programme is also supported by Volunteer Now, Volunteer Ireland, Scouting Ireland and Foróige.