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WILLOW’S GIFT

The family of Willow Stone have supported Willow's wishes in gifting her organs to help others live.

Willow, 14, passed away last Thursday as the result of an accident. She was the daughter of Rachael and Lincoln, and the sister of Summer and Tarquin.

Her mother Rachael Stone said she wanted the community's conversations to be about the legacy of organ donation, not about the accident in which Willow died.

Willow was a free spirit, said Rachael.

“Her personality was always bubbly, friendly, loving, caring and empathetic to everybody she met.

“(She was) a real go- getter, up for anything fun. She always wanted to become an interior designer and really had an eye for detail. She was the type of child who, if she was staying at a friend's house, she would tidy their room for them for fun. Her friends would think that was awesome, as you can imagine.

“Willow was highly active and always busy living life to the full. She was a talented swimmer in her early days but soon decided to swap sports, to jujitsu.

“Both Willow and her sister ended up with national titles for this. Willow enjoyed surfing with her mum and dad and with her friends. (She was) just a real water baby. She also did a bit of modelling with Postie Plus — this little girl from Gizzy.

“On the day she had her accident, Willow and her friend were getting ready for another action-packed day, whether this involved surfing, skating or any other typical teenage shenanigans. This day was not meant to be any different, but it was.

“We unfortunately have lost a beautiful soul, our baby girl.

“Willow's selfless caring nature blessed three people with her organs.” One of these was a teenage girl, Rachael said.

“We had spoken about organ donation in the past. Both our children felt this is what they needed to do if something like this were to happen. No way did we ever think this could happen to our family. As cruel as life can be, this has happened to us, so Willow's wishes were carried out.

“There are so many people to thank. The incredible nurses, doctors, specialists, surgeons, ambulance, helicopter service, police and other members of our community who worked tirelessly, some working into overtime or welcomed picking up the extra shift to help care for our baby.

“We watched the humanity of their grief, alongside ours, as we journeyed through this together. Everyone worked so incredibly hard, and we are forever grateful.

“I need to mention a message that was sent to me from a nurse who cared for Willow up at the hospital. She expressed that after 22 years of nursing and seeing so many tragedies in her career, Willow has given her back the passion to keep caring for others. The experience was transformative for many, which the surgeon also shared via a phone call.”

Willow's family would like to reiterate that her accident was just that, an accident.

“We are disappointed that some people have taken to social media to share the opposite view, but these people do not speak for our family. No one is to blame for this tragedy. It was an accident.

“Right now, we want to focus on celebrating our baby's life. We know that the ripple effect of her death will be felt by many for a very long time.

“We still have a rough road ahead of us as we navigate life without our baby girl. We can find some comfort in knowing Willow's selfless gift of life will help others to live on.”

WILLOW'S LEGACY: Willow Stone was only 14 when she passed away last Thursday. Her mother Rachael Stone said Willow's selfless caring nature blessed three people with her organs. One of them a teenage girl. Picture by Willow Stone

  1. Trish Riki says:

    A beautiful girl and beautiful soul. Absolutely beautifully said Rach. Willow touched the lives of so many people in this world, and at such a young, tender age. For her life to live on in helping others by way of being a donor is a truly wonderful gift and legacy. Kia kaha, Rach, Linc, Summer, Tarquin and whanau. Arohanui always.

  2. David Jackson says:

    You should be able to meet the people who have received her organs, which would help a lot. Willow sounded like an awesome individual – few and far between.

  3. Wiremu Witana says:

    Beautiful girl Willow – celebrating your life and the huge impact of your characteristics, of your love for others, giving selflessly to help others in life. Such a beautiful soul. AROHANUI WHANAU, GOD BLESS

    1. Addie Ashford, Te Araroa says:

      Such a beautiful girl who lives on not only in her family’s hearts, but the three people who got her organs. What a beautiful gesture from a loving family. May the perpetual light always shine on her and her legacy forever more.

  4. Rachel, Auckland says:

    You just don’t know when family conversations about important topics will become pivotal and life-changing, as your one was with Willow. I’m so glad you did have that conversation and that she lives on, both in your hearts and physically supporting the lives of others with part of herself. What a treasure. Sending you all much love for navigating the years ahead, I hope your healing journeys bring you even closer together as a family.

  5. Karen Mason, Palmerston North says:

    Kia kaha, a beautiful soul lost too early.

  6. Sharon Tangaere, Perth says:

    Dearest Lincoln, Rachael, Summer and my niece Tarquin, sending you all love and prayers and my deepest condolences. Your darling Willow will live on in the three people she has blessed with her selfless act. Arohanui

    Sharon Tangaere and whanau, Perth WA