#PowerOfYouth – Lucia Quinney Mee BEM Award
Volunteer Now were devastated to hear of the loss of one of our #iWill ambassadors, friend and amazing campaigner, Lucia Quinney Mee BEM. Lucia sadly passed away following her 4th liver transplant just before her 21st birthday but whilst with us she was full of determination, passion, commitment, energy and enthusiasm. Much of this was invested in her own campaign: Live Loudly Donate Proudly which raised awareness of the need for organ donation. To honour and recognise Lucia, Volunteer Now partnered with Lucia’s family: David, Rachel and sister Alice to offer an Award for Campaigning in Lucia’s memory to a young volunteer.
The winner was announced at our MV Ultimate virtual ceremony where 13 young people were recognised for their outstanding commitment to volunteering. Lucia’s father David gave an emotional and inspiring address about Lucia and made the award to the worthy recipient, Anna Neal (14) a dedicated eco-campaigner.
From David’s speech:
“Through the years of her campaigning Lucia was given several awards and every one of them she found astonishing. “What, me? Wow!”
No award she was or could ever be given would match the gifts from her unknown organ donors that gave her life and the sense of immense gratitude that created in her.
So winning awards was not what Lucia set out to do. Lucia designed much of her formal campaign, Live Loudly Donate Proudly, in her room on Ward 8 in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, a few months before her 3rd liver transplant (2015). Aware that the clock was ticking for her and no one could know how much time she would have, Lucia wanted her gratitude to her donors to make a difference.
She wanted to make a difference to the lives of those in need of transplants so they could live their lives with a new opportunity, to enjoy their lives, their families and friends, with the joy and gratitude and enthusiasm that Lucia enjoyed herself. Live Loudly.
She wanted to make a difference for those who would consider organ donation, to encourage them to speak with their friends and family because they are the ones who would need to make the decision if the moment arose. To encourage us all to be donors, blood donors, stem cell and bone marrow donors, living donors and, if the tragic circumstances made it possible, donors at the point of dying. And to do that Proudly.
Live Loudly, Donate Proudly.
Lucia wanted to make a difference.
Lucia was proud when she received her BEM in Hillsborough Castle. We all were. But she was even more proud and excited when the Gala Dinner she organised with her sister Alice and their friends brought more names to the donor register, more conversations within families, and more funds for the hospitals and the mental health unit so special to us all. Proud to know that partly as a result of conversations she provoked in her own remarkable way, lives have been saved and changed.
She would be proud to know that conversations she started with the Education Minister a few years back were continued a few weeks ago with the Minister and with key staff from the Education and Health Departments, taking us much closer to her goal of having the wide topic of organ donation included on the National Curriculum in Northern Ireland.
Lucia was proud that as a young person, her voice could be heard and taken seriously. Proud that as a young woman she could be listened to and make a difference.
Lucia believed in the powerful effect young people can have in their families, with their peers, and in the public forum. Believing in the powerful resource of young people to make the world better than it is made her a proud #iwill Ambassador.
Tonight’s award would be a great moment for Lucia. To win an award is an honour. To inspire, encourage and strengthen another person to lift their own voice, to believe in themselves and to make a difference is a better award still.
She would be thrilled for Anna, full of congratulations and encouragement for her commitment to the work she is doing and proud to be some inspiration to another young voice.
I am delighted that Anna is a recipient, and I am sure Lucia would be over the moon that she is still able to inspire and help young campaigners to be recognised. There is another edge to the award winner. In the best and most joyful of times and in the hardest and darkest, Lucia loved the beach, the sea, the ocean. It was her place of joy and her place of refuge.
This award has gone to one who is clearly and rightly passionate about the environment we live in, the air we breathe and the protection of our beautiful oceans and the life that should be allowed to flourish there.
To support Anna’s campaigning, our family have also gifted Anna a financial award to support her work and we hope that Anna will do us the honour of writing a blog for Lucia’s website.”
Read more about these wonderful campaigns:
The Millennium Volunteers programme is funded by the Education Authority for NI.