IN just three seconds Ian Richardson’s happy family life was torn apart.
While travelling back from a family wedding in Scotland his car was hit head-on by another car driving the wrong way up the A1 claiming the lives of his wife Joanne, 40, and their six-year-old daughter Mya.
But out of the tragedy Mya gave the gift of life to at least six more families after her organs went to children waiting for transplants.
Today marks the start of National Transplant Week and Ian is urging more people to sign the Donor Register to help the thousands of people desperately waiting for a transplant.
Hartlepool businessman Ian, 38, who survived the horror crash last August with daughter Ava, now aged one, said: “Joining the register is such a simple thing. At the end of the day one person can save nine others.
“Three people die every day waiting for an organ. There’s just no need for it.”
When Ian was asked by medics he had no hesitation in agreeing to donate Mya’s organs.
Although the happy, energetic youngster’s life had been taken, Ian knew he had to let her live on in others.
He said: “At the end of the day I can’t change what’s happened. I wish I could, but I can’t.
“But what I can maybe do is make something positive come out of it.”
Spurred on by Mya’s story, more than 1,000 people have registered as donors meaning potentially 600 more people who could have a future.
Ian, from Billingham, won an Award For Inspiration in the Mail’s first Pride of Hartlepool Awards in March.
He has pledged to do everything he can to raise awareness during National Transplant Week with the NHS Blood and Transplant authority, which is leading the campaign.
Ian said: “Everyone always has the best intentions and says ‘I will get round to it’, but more often than not they don’t do it and talk is cheap.
“If it was the other way round I would be praying someone stood up to be counted.I know what I would have done to have had just 10 more minutes with Joanne and Mya.”
l To add your name to the NHS Organ Donor Register, call 0300 1232323 or visit www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk and select the link at the bottom of this story.
l Mail view: Page 8