By Jess Grieveson-Smith
A heartbroken-mum-of-three has gone viral after sharing a letter that explained how her husband saved FIVE lives thanks to donation his organs.
The post, which has been shared 25k times online, by Gemma Ashdown, 34, details how Jonathan, 27, was able to save so many lives.
Describing him as a ‘hero who loved to help others’ Jonathan was able to donate his heart, his liver was split in two, pancreas, kidney managing to save five lives.
Jonathan suffered a brain Arteriovenous Malformation [AVM] – which caused a bleed due a tangle of blood vessels – and the dad-of-three passed suddenly six weeks ago – having just welcomed his newborn daughter Willow, who was only eight-weeks-old.
But his brave wife, Gemma Ashdown made the decision to allow organ donation, as Jonathan’s organs were all healthy – and is now sharing her story to help raise awareness for the importance of donating organs.
Gemma, 34, a homemaker, said: “I decided to share the letter I received from the donor family care service, as I wanted Jono, as I called him, to get the recognition he deserved.
“The day I shared it yesterday [October 15] which would have been his 28th birthday, and I needed the world to know.
“He was my amazing hero, a hero to our three children, Emily-Jasmine, eight, Oscar-John, 17 months, Willow, now 14 weeks, but he wasn’t just our hero.
“He’s saved five other people after his death, with the potential to save more, as his skin and other tissue have been saved for future use.
“When organ donation was mentioned to me, I had to sit in the chapel for a while and really think.
“Jono had fallen ill with the AVM back in July after suffering from extreme migraines but we were waiting for treatment in hospital when he died.
“He was Jono to me, and my entire life had changed in the blink of an eye – I was distraught.
“But I got goosebumps when I thought – one of his kids, who might not be able to remember his heart beat might now have the chance to hear it again.”
Gemma is hoping to one day be put in contact those who have received his organs, in order to tell them more about Jonathan, adding: “I want to know them about him, and know their stories.
“Jono would have been so grateful that he could do that, and I want them to know how great he was.
“I remember shaking when I received the letter in the post.
“They’d made hand prints of his hands and given me locks of his hair so I could make memory boxes for our children.
“I’ve had stick from people online since sharing the post, saying that Jonathan wasn’t intact because I let organ donation happen but I know that people lived because of my husband.
“He would’ve helped anyone out in their time of need and now his memory will live on.
“Our children might able to meet someone who their dad saved.
Gemma further added: “I’d want to say to someone who might end up in my situation, don’t be selfish, but I get it.
“Your head is all over the place, and it’s such a hard decision to make.
“My life changed in the blink of an eye, and I’m now a widow.
“But I just had to think of my children.
“If something was wrong with my family, I’d want them to be able to receive donations.
“But you’ve got to be aware of all elements – if I hadn’t been Jono’s wife, I wouldn’t have had power over that decision.
“And you need to know what your partner would want, and I’m grateful that I was able to make that decision for him.”