A SHOREHAM chef who died suddenly at the age of 29 is to receive a posthumous award for allowing his organs to save the lives of others.
Daniel Daughtery died on September 23 last year, having suffered a cardiac arrest the night before. It was found he had a tumour at the top of his spine, which no-one had known about.
His mother, Glynis Daughtery, of Southview Close, Southwick, said he had made a conscious decision to donate his organs, should anything happen to him. It meant he helped change the lives of nearly 30 people.
Mrs Daughtery said: “I am just so proud of him. He gave the gift of life and hope to people. People need to wake up and think what you can do. Daniel’s life wasn’t wasted at all.”
She is keen to encourage others to donate their organs but said the process was a difficult one.
“The surviving family has to sit with the organ donation team and go through it. It is heartbreaking. But it is an amazing thing.
“Daniel made a conscious decision to donate his organs but even so, I was not aware of the extent of how much they can use.
“People need to wake up and think what you can do. Daniel’s life wasn’t wasted at all.”
The Order of St John award for organ donation will be presented at a ceremony in Brighton on October 29. It is designed to recognise the important gift that Daniel made by donating his organs to save the life of others.
His heart went to a man in his 30s, his lungs went to a man in his 50s with advanced lung disease, his liver went to another man in his 50s, one kidney went to a teenager who had been on dialysis for two years and his pancreas went to a man in his 50s who had been waiting three months for the life-saving operation.
The organ donation team was also able to use bone to help healing in orthopaedic operations, tendons to repair ligaments in sports injuries, skin to promote healing and prevent infections, and tissues for valuable research.
Mrs Daughtery said: “The eyes were the windows of his soul to me. That was the one thing that I could not let them use.”
She said Daniel was 6ft 4in, like his father, but he was ‘a gentle giant’ who was very popular.
Mrs Daughtery had actually been told by doctors that she could not have children but fell pregnant and had her eldest son, James, at the age of 30 in July 1983.
When he was three months old, she found out she was pregnant again, this time with twins, and Daniel and his sister Bridie were born in August 1984.
Having grown up in Farm Way, Southwick, Daniel worked at both the Bridge Inn and the Crown and Anchor, in High Street, Shoreham, before moving to Beach House restaurant, in East Street. He worked long hours but he had always wanted to be a chef and loved the job.
He met ‘the love of his life’, Sophie Witham, in Shoreham and they had been together six years when he died.
Daniel had complained of a headache the week before his death but Mrs Daughtery said he had been under a lot of stress because he and Sophie were moving from a cottage in Southwick to a flat in Shoreham. They had no idea it was an indication of something more serious.
“It was horrendous for everybody,” she said.