Baby Alex’s death brings hope to others through organ donation

Alex McCartney.
Alex McCartney.

A couple who work in Portadown have pledged to use the tragic death of their eight-month-old son to help families whose infants are faced with life-threatening situations.

Alex McCartney died last week following an accident in the family home in Lurgan on January 17 and his mother and father, Joanne and Stephen, say his organs can be used for other babies.

Alex’s family have said they were grateful of the chance to say their goodbyes to the eight-month-old last week and will take heart in the knowledge many of his organs can be used by other’s babies.

Alex’s mother Joanne said, “We take comfort knowing his organs can be used.”

She explained his heart can be used to help other babies with valves transferred to two other children.

His father Stephen added, “Whenever they asked about donating his organs there was no chance we wouldn’t have agreed.

“If it was Alex who needed the organs we’d have been so, so grateful.”

The eight-month-old’s two kidneys and his liver will also be used for the benefit of others.

Alex lost his brave fight for life at the Royal Victoria on Wednesday last.

His mother Joanne (32), who works at Seagoe firm Almac, explained how the time in hospital allowed her to come to terms with what was happening.

She said, “I hung off the end of his bed for two days, crying and crying. It took that time to accept what was happening.

“The time he was in hospital gave us the time to accept and say goodbye. We’re very grateful we had that time to say goodbye. We were able to sit with him, nurse him and talk to him.”

Joanne told how Alex’s 10-year-old sister Aimee washed and dressed him and read Bible stories to him. “She was like a second mum to him,” Joanne said.

“She’s very mature for her age. She has been coping extremely well. Her primary school, Dickson, made her a lovely card that everyone in the school had signed.”

He will also be dearly missed by his other sister Lily (2), for whom Alex was her favourite playmate.

Alex’s father Stephen (28), who works at AAES in Portadown, said, “He was such a happy wee boy. He never cried, he just laughed and smiled. He was at that stage where he was able to sit up, he was very strong. He liked to sit and watch whatever Lily was watching on TV.”

Joanne and Stephen said the support received has been amazing, from their family, friends, their employers and also from Hill Street FC, where Stephen is captain of the reserves. They said the staff at both Craigavon Hospital and the Royal were tremendous.