The sister of the teenager who died after taking a lethal designer drug said his death should serve as a warning to others.
Alex Ryan’s older sister, Nicole, yesterday told the mourners at his funeral Mass in Co Cork how she and her mother, Irena, watched him fight for his life in Cork University Hospital after he took psychoactive stimulant, N-Bomb, at a house party in Cork City last Tuesday.
Alex died on Saturday. He was just 18.
In a moving tribute from the altar at St Patrick’s Church in Millstreet, Nicole said they were not oblivious to the facts of Alex’s choices, but she said she wanted to show everyone the dangers and the consequences of his actions.
“He willingly took the drug and in the end he paid the ultimate price — he paid with his life. My mother is a strong woman but for any woman to see her youngest child in that condition was unbearable. Alex was not a bad person. Even in his last moments, he took care of everyone there, but unfortunately when he had asked for help, nobody was there to help him.”
She then gave a graphic account of his final days and said he suffered extensive brain damage following a cardiac arrest at the house party.
She said it was clear by last Thursday that the damage was irreversible, and that he was dying.
She never lost hope but began to consider organ donation. “I wanted to give Alex a way of remembrance. I did not want him to become another statistic.
“He had one chance left to do something remarkable and I had to see to it. I suggested organ donation,” she said.
By Friday morning, she said Alex’s heart rate was slowing and he was only breathing with the aid of a machine. Following stem cell tests, Alex was pronounced clinically brain dead at around 5.30pm.
“It was very hard to grasp that although Alex was strong and healthy, he was not with us any more,” Nicole said.
“We decided because all his organs were perfect they would not die with him — he would not die in vain. He had one chance to save someone else, to give a family who could understand our pain, and to give them that hope, that chance of a miracle.”
Their decision benefited four people awaiting transplants.
“I can’t ever say that I saved somebody’s life, but Alex has saved four. That’s four families, four people that needed a miracle, and Alex was their miracle. His heart has never stopped beating. It still beats as we speak,” Nicole said.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved