New Year's honour for organ donation champion
The daughter of former BMS mission workers was the youngest person in the latest New Year’s Honours List
Lucia Mee, 18, was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for her work to raise awareness of organ donation.
Lucia is the daughter of David and Rachel Quinney Mee, who served with BMS World Mission in El Salvador.
She received her first liver transplant in 2007, and has since undergone a further two liver transplants.
While awaiting her third transplant in 2015, she created the Live Loudly, Donate Proudly campaign, to encourage people to have open conversations about organ donation. The initial campaign videos received thousands of views.
As her health improved, Lucia has continued to grow the campaign across social media platforms and her blog, and give frequent presentations on organ donation. All this has been done alongside her A-levels: she is in the final year of her studies and has a long-term goal of studying medicine. She has also competed in the Transplant Games.
On receiving the award, Lucia, from Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, described herself as ‘quite baffled and totally amazed’.
She said, ‘The reason I accepted this award was in no way because I think I deserve it…it was because I know that this will bring attention to our campaign, raise awareness of our message and get people talking about organ donation.
‘I am also the youngest on the list this year, and I think that this really highlights the importance of young people’s voices. We are the future, our passions are what will change the future and if we use our voices well enough, we will be heard, and people will take notice.
‘Whatever it is that you are passionate about, pursue it. Dream big. Believe in your message and your ability to get it across.’
David and Rachel were mission workers with BMS in El Salvador during the 1990s, during and post the civil war there.
David said, ‘Lucia has continually surprised us with her own resilience and commitment, not only to recovering her own health but going much further.
‘Although this was not a path any of us would have chosen or foreseen, even through some of the most demanding and difficult periods we have all been strengthened by an overwhelming experience of grace, made real through often astonishing levels of skill, support and friendship.’
He added, ‘The BEM is a generous recognition of Lucia's commitment to campaigning for organ donation. Above all, it is a powerful way of saying thank you to the three donors and their families who, anonymously, have saved her life and transformed the lives of us all.’
In El Salvador David and Rachel worked alongside El Cordero de Dios - the Church of the Lamb of God. A partnership between El Cordero de Dios and Didcot Baptist Church that began during their time continues to this day.
David said their intention to return to El Salvador ‘was shifted by Lucia's adventures’. He is now involved in community development work on Rathlin Island. Lucia's elder sister, Alice, has just graduated in Psychology in Birmingham University. Rachel volunteers with the Northern Ireland Liver Support Group and a local health and well-being group, ‘while graciously holding the rest of us together,’ David added.
Words Save Lives. If you want to be an organ donor your family need to know. Don’t leave them to make the decision alone. #YesIDonate bit.ly/2CgZOrg