Tributes to inspirational organ donation campaigner Lucia Quinny Mee following death just days before 21st birthday
AN inspirational organ donation campaigner from Co Antrim was last night remembered as a "courageous, resilient, mischievous, loving young woman with an innate zest for life".
Lucia Quinny Mee from Ballycastle, who died four days before her 21st birthday, had received her fourth liver transplant in recent months.
A former pupil at Cross and Passion College, she was described as a "remarkable person who achieved so much in such a short life".
Lucia was just eight when she suddenly suffered acute liver failure and was rushed to hospital. Within 12 hours, she had a new liver.
However, the organ was rejected and she found herself back on the transplant list before undergoing another gruelling operation in 2009.
In 2015 she received a third transplant after complications from a kidney stone but she recovered to compete at the British Transplant Games.
Lucia also set up the `Live Loudly Donate Proudly' campaign to raise awareness of organ donation and two years later she was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work.
She said she hoped it would encourage people to talk to loved ones about leaving organs after their death.
Last year she was placed on the organ donor transplant list again and received her fourth transplant just months ago.
She died on Sunday at Kings Hospital in London.
The Royal Victoria Hospital Liver Support Group, which her mother Rachel chairs, said those who knew Lucia would "cherish the memory of a courageous, resilient, mischievous, loving young woman with an innate zest for life that was made even stronger by her deep gratitude to the strangers who restored her to that life".
"The youngest ever recipient of the British Empire Medal and as articulate and committed an advocate for organ donation as you could meet, she will leave a huge void in the life of her family, in the lives of all who know her, in the campaign for organ donation and in the work of this group, in which she was involved for far too short a time."
Cross and Passion principal Paul McClean described Lucia as "an inspirational young woman who kind of laughed in the face of her challenges".
"Lucia was so grateful for the life that she had been given from her organ donors and their families and she made it her mission in life to give back to them, to live her own life to the fullest."
The Rathlin Development Community Association, where her father David works, said: "Lucia from her first transplant in 2007 showed determination and courage in everything that she participated in.
"She was a passionate advocate for organ donation and in her Live Loudly Donate Proudly charity, her legacy will certainly live on."
Sinn Féin councillor Cara McShane also said Lucia "left a huge mark on everyone she met".
"A positive, inspirational and intelligent young person - she shifted mindsets," she said.
"I had the privilege of meeting Lucia on several occasions, as she lobbied then education minister, John O'Dowd, to include organ donation onto the school curriculum, as a topic in religious education, in biology, and in citizenship."
Ms McShane said she also addressed a meeting of Causeway Coast and Glens Council four years ago to discuss her campaign.
"Lucia was a remarkable person who achieved so much in such a short life," she said.
"We will remember her for the vibrancy and energy she brought to the campaign for organ donations. But she did not want to be defined by just this.
"At the council meeting, I recall her saying, 'I am a swimmer, a ballerina and I have had liver transplants."
Other tributes posted online described Lucia as an "incredible person who fought so hard through multiple transplants to live".
She was remembered as someone who "spoke publicly about her childhood battles for survival when many would have given up", providing "so many parents and children hope".
Lucia is survived by her parents David and Rachel and sister Alice.