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When 13-year-old Jemima Layzell said she would like to donate her organs to help save lives, her parents were proud of her gesture. 

Their daughter was perfectly healthy, and the discussion about organ donation had come up only because of the recent death of a friend in a car crash.

But little more than a week later, Sophy and Harvey Layzell endured the unthinkable when Jemima collapsed at home with a brain aneurism, and died in hospital.
Amid their grief, the couple decided to donate Jemima's organs – recalling her wish to help others. 

Mr and Mrs Layzell, from Horton, Somerset, have now been told that Jemima's organs helped save the lives of eight people – the highest number on record. Her eye tissue also restored three patients' eyesight.

The discovery was made by staff at the NHS Blood and Transplant unit who trawled through records to find the donor who had helped the most people. A typical donation usually results in between two and three transplants.

Dance tutor Mrs Layzell, 43, said: ‘Everyone wants their child to be special and unique and this, among other things, makes us very proud. We knew Jemima was willing to be a donor following a conversation about it a couple of weeks before her unexpected death. The conversation was prompted by the death of someone we knew in a crash.

‘They were on the register but their organs couldn't be donated because of the circumstances of their death. Jemima had never heard of organ donation before and found it a little bit unsettling but totally understood the importance of it.

‘We found the decision to donate Jemima's organs hard but we both felt it was right and we knew she was in favour of donation.'

Jemima collapsed at home on March 10, 2012. She had extreme pain in her head and lost consciousness after a massive bleed caused by a ruptured aneurysm deep in the left side of her brain. 

Jemima was rushed to hospital but died four days later.

Mr Layzell, 49, the managing director of a building firm, said: ‘She was a deep-thinking girl, very mature for her age. 

‘She suddenly said that if something did happen to her, it would be something she'd want to do. She wanted to help other people.

Jemima was a pupil at the £15,000-a-year Taunton School, where teachers were astounded by her writing ability. Her private diaries, published by her parents in 2013, received praise from children's authors Michael Morpurgo and Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

Mr Layzell added: ‘She was just very happy growing up. She was blossoming, she was 13, a few months from being 14, and she had her whole life ahead of her.' 

Mrs Layzell said: ‘We feel it's very important for families to talk about organ donation. Every parent's instinct is to say no, as we are programmed to protect our child. 

‘Jemima was lovely – clever, funny, compassionate and creative – and we feel sure she would be very proud of her legacy.' 

NHS Blood and Transplant said 457 people died waiting for a transplant last year, including 14 children. There are 6,414 people on the waiting list, including 176 children. Spokesman Anthony Clarkson said: ‘Jemima's unique story shows the extraordinary difference a few words can make. 

‘Hundreds of people are still dying unnecessarily waiting for a transplant because too many families say no to organ donation.'

To donate to Jemima's trust,  visit jemimalayzell.com/donate