A DAD killed while buying presents for his kids on Christmas Eve gave the ultimate gift – by saving the lives of three strangers.
The family of Darren Bruynel, 34, donated his organs after he died in the motorbike accident a year ago.
The builder and scaffolder, from North London, was picking up last-minute gifts to put under the tree for his boys – Oliver, eight, Charlie, 13, and Alfie, 17 – when the accident happened.
Despite being airlifted to Royal London Hospital for emergency surgery, doctors were unable to save him.
His sister, Melanie Heffelman, was at his bedside on Christmas morning when the family took the decision to donate his organs.
In the following days his kidneys, liver and pancreas went to desperately ill patients.
His family said they were “immensely proud” that Darren helped change so many lives for the better.
Melanie, 37, from North London, said: “We lost someone we loved dearly but we also saved three lives that day and that’s something special.
“It was the best decision we ever made because it helped us through the grieving process. It does bring comfort.
“Christmas is so important to us as a family. It is supposed to be the happiest day of the year. It’s about coming together and picking people up and doing good deeds."
Darren, who was separated from the mother of his three sons, was due to have the boys on Christmas Day.
The collision on the Holloway Road in North London left him with severe head injuries. He later died from brain stem injuries.
Melanie added: “We knew he was a kind-hearted person and if he had the chance to save lives, he would take it.
“Darren was very funny, he was vivacious, and he was generous. He loved his mum and he loved his boys."
Darren was awarded the Order of St John Award by NHS Blood and Transplant.
It is given to deceased organ donors for their sacrifice and received by their families.
Sally Johnson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: “We hope these awards will inspire other people to tell their families that, should they die in circumstances where they could become a donor, then their wish to be a lifesaver would be carried out.”
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