SHE was only 21-years-old but the late Katherine Kelley has left a wonderful legacy following her death last year.
Katherine’s passing following a car accident just outside Portadown in November sent shockwaves through the community and left her friends and family devastated.
But out of the events of that tragic night has come several positives. First, in line with her wishes, Katherine’s organs were donated and went on to save the life of a baby in England and at least two other people.
And now Katherine’s family and the Euphoria Nightclub in Mandeville Street have combined to hand over a cheque for £1,500 to the Intensive Care Unit at Craigavon Hospital, where she spent her final days.
Katherine’s sister Samantha Mackle explained that many of her friends had been unable to attend the funeral or pay their last respects so an event was organised to celebrate her life.
Hundreds attended the memorial for the ‘dancing butterfly’ in Euphoria with the Intensive Care Unit being presented with the proceeds last week.
Katherine and four friends were in a car travelling home from a nightclub when they were involved in an accident on the Armagh Road.
Katherine, a former pupil of Craigavon Senior High, died just days later in Craigavon Hospital.
Her friends Clare Gough, Scott Houston, Daniel Dougan and James Foster were also seriously injured in the crash.
When Katherine’s mother Kathy Lennon invited people to say goodbye to her before they turned off her life support machines, more than 100 young people arrived at the hospital, many sitting on the floor in corridors awaiting their turn to see her - a testament to how popular she was.
And several months before her death Katherine had shown the family her organ donation papers, saying: “I am going to save lives.”
Just a week after her funeral, Katherine’s family organised the event in Euphoria.
Katherine’s family were overwhelmed by the level of support during her time at the hospital. They were particularly impressed with the staff who catered for all young people who wanted to say goodbye to their friend.
“We still miss her, every day. She will never be forgotten,” said Samantha.
Katherine had been studying childcare and loved going out to enjoy herself. She was very popular and used to go out to Euphoria most weekends. “That’s why we wanted to hold something there,” said Samantha.
She explained that the family wanted to donate the money to the Intensive Care Unit because of how good they were to them during a very traumatic time.
“When we brought the cheque to the unit, one of the nurses who had treated Katherine said he thinks about her every day and all the nurses think about her,” she said.
Samantha said the money will go towards investing in machines and helping with their technology. “Hopefully it will help save the life of someone else,” she said.
Samantha said the family has found solace in the huge support they have received from everyone since her death.
And she revealed that the family are going to get a plaque made to erect at the tree where the car Katherine was travelling in crashed.
Samantha said the family would like to thank everyone who donated and also Lynn Douglas from Euphoria and all the staff who helped with raising the money.