The father of a young University of Limerick (UL) student who died after being injured in a kayaking accident in Kerry over the weekend has urged members of the public to consider organ donation.
Aisling O'Connor, who was from Ballyshannon in Donegal, was among a group of twenty UL students from a kayaking club on a trip to Caragh Lake in Glencar, Killarney last Saturday.
Aisling and a male student in his early twenties got into difficulty in rough waters at around 2.30pm last Saturday afternoon.
The two kayakers were airlifted to University Hospital Kerry in Tralee where Aisling subsequently passed away from her injuries. The injured man is in a stable condition.
David O’Connor, father of Aisling, sent an email to the 96FM Opinion Line asking that other families consider organ donation in the event of a tragedy.
He said his "beautiful daughter" had only turned 21 on September 1.
'A role model in every sense of the word'
David said there would not be enough time or words for him to convey the essence and character of this simply wonderful and special person.
"She enriched the lives of everyone she encountered... loving, bubbly, bright, vivacious, caring...I could go on and on.....always taking care and looking out for others.
"She was a role model in every sense of the word and set the example for many especially for her brothers Ciaran and Matthew and her sisters Clodagh and Maeve."
Mr O'Connor said the purpose of his email was to highlight the importance of organ donation.
"I know you have covered this topic before but if you could please spare another 30 seconds or so to reach out to your listeners and emphasize the importance of organ donation I would be very grateful.
'Even in death, Aisling continues to care for others in need'
"As I write this , my beautiful baby's organs are being harvested to help the lives of others. Incredibly, within 10 minutes of her being pronounced dead yesterday, the liver transplant team identified Aisling as a perfect match for a patient of theirs.
Even in death, Aisling continues to care for, enrich and help others in need.
My hope is that all of her organs are viable and will give the gift of life to those who need it. Aisling would not have had it any other way."
David said whilst their lives are shattered and will never be the same again it is important for members of the public to know the gift of life we all possess through organ donation.
"Even in the face of tragic loss and heartbreaking senseless death of someone so young. Please think of Aisling and wish her well on her onward journey where I know she is lighting up the lives of everyone she encounters."
Aisling was a popular third year student of biochemistry at UL. She is survived by her parents Sorcha Begley and David O'Connor and her four siblings. Funeral arrangements have as yet to be finalised.
Aisling was known in Ballyshannon for her volunteer work in the the local tourist office. She also worked in an off licence in the area.
She was born and bred in Skibbereen in West Cork but had spent the latter years of her life in Donegal.