A young man who died following a road accident last weekend has saved the lives of four people by donating his organs.
20-year-old “hero” Aaron Cantwell donated his organs before he died after the accident outside Navan.
His only brother, Adam Cantwell, has now appealed to families to “have the chat” about organ donation.
The 22-year-old from Trim told the Late Lunch Show on LMFM Radio that he did not want to remember the date his younger brother died - the only important date was the day he was born, the day "my parents gave me a hero and little brother."
"He (Aaron) was and still is a hero. That's really the only word that I can use to describe him. He was extremely strong. He went through his hard times as everyone did through the teenage years with a smile on his face,” he said.
Adam told of how he used to drive Aaron to work as a lifeguard and swim teacher at Aura Leisure Centre in Navan, where they both worked together.
"I had the pleasure of spending the most time with him because I got to drive him into work and back from work so a lot of my time was spent with him. I can't say a single day that I spent with him that I didn't laugh and enjoy.
"He was a hero at work as well. He was a lifeguard so he saved lives. He was a swim teacher which was definitely his pride and joy.
"He had so much enjoyment from helping the kids. He got on really well with the kids and he loved spending time teaching them and helping them and being there for them and making sure he helped them through any bit of fear that they had in terms of water.
"I spoke to him on the morning of the accident. He asked if I would do something with him and we played a bit of Xbox which we would have done most days. It was an honour to have him as a brother and to be able to speak to him every day.”
Adam said that he remembered Aaron as young as 14 saying that he wanted to donate his organs.
"On more than one occasion when we were having dinner as a family, the chat came up. My parents would instigate it, obviously because they never thought they'd lose myself or Aaron before them but they thought to chat about if anything happened to them, that they'd want their organs donated so they could help others even in their passing.
"Aaron made it abundantly clear, even from 14 years old, his wishes to donate his organs if anything was to happen. In the end, the decision came down to my parents and if Aaron hadn't had the chat with us at the dinner table, we might not have known his wishes so this shouldn't be a taboo conversation.
I've been given so much hope and comfort knowing that Aaron has saved lives and it's made this process easier
"In the chats we had before, we would've thought it would be the recipient who got hope and comfort from receiving but for ourselves as a donor family, and speaking for myself, I've been given so much hope and comfort knowing that Aaron has saved lives and it's made this process easier and I want to say to any recipient family out there that I hold nothing but adoration and love that I had for Aaron towards their families.
"The message that we all want to send is to have the chat because Aaron's legacy lives on because of that.”
Adam, on behalf of his family, has asked for privacy over the coming days.
"The only date and time that I want remembered for my brother is exactly 7pm on 20th March, 2002. My parents gave me a hero and a little brother who will live on forever so I don't want any other date than that - because that's the day when my life changed.”
A GoFundMe page, organised by Aaron's close friends, has already raised over €6,000 which will solely go towards Organ Donor Awareness. Donations can be made to https://www.gofundme.com/f/aaron-cantwell