MARTIN Molloy and his family are doing all they can to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
On July 31, his 22-year-old step-daughter would have been celebrating the first anniversary of a heart transplant which gave her a new lease of life.
Sadly, Lauren Dixon, who lived at the Stanley Arms pub in Wesham, with Martin and her mum Denise, died suddenly in May. The family are still waiting for answers as to what caused the tragic event.
But in a bid to highlight the issue of organ donation and do something positive in Lauren’s memory, they are holding a fund-raising charity day at the pub on that day.
They have been working hard, along with Lauren’s friend Mandy Webster, to organise the event, which takes place from 10.30am and involves a three-legged football match, a dominoes contest, a raffle and bingo, an auction, face painting and a bouncy castle.
Martin, who was Lauren’s stepdad for 17 years, said: “This was an event we had planned with Lauren, to celebrate the first anniversary of her heart transplant – she called it her first birthday because it made such a big difference to her life. But then very tragically she lost her life, very suddenly. We decided we would still hold the event in her memory. It’s all the more poignant.
“As well as raising funds for The New Start Charity, the transplant charity at Wythenshawe Hospital, where Lauren was treated, we want to raise awareness.
“We saw first-hand the work done by the teams at Blackpool and Manchester and these are normal people doing phenomenal jobs.
“They are amazing, every case is so personal to them and they became like family.
“We really hope this day will help highlight the issue of organ donation too. It’s such a big issue – three people die every day waiting for a transplant.
“Lots of people probably mean to sign up for the organ donor register, but it can be one of those things they never get round to.
“We hope to show people how important it is, and we will be offering the chance to sign up on the day and get more information.”
Representatives from the New Start Charity will give a presentation at the fun day to let people know about how organ donation saves and changes people’s lives.
There will be a whole host of activities going on throughout the day – including a three-legged football match, the Lauren Dixon Memorial Dominoes Trophy Competition and a barbecue.
Local businesses have donated prizes for the bingo, raffle and auction – including a day pass to Ribby Hall Village, Pleasure Beach wristbands, signed football memorabilia, meals at pubs, wine and so on.
Martin said: “Everybody has been so kind – we have had so much support from people locally. And businesses have been brilliant, donating great prizes, it’s very generous.
“Lauren’s friend Mandy has also been good and worked so hard, she has put everything into this.
“For us, it’s helped to keep us busy, to throw our energy into organising something positive at a really tough time. I think Lauren would be proud.”