Tragedy leads to children’s nurse career

Elena Higginson.
Elena Higginson.

A student was inspired to become a nurse after her cousin died in a road traffic accident.

Overton resident Elena Higginson, 21, who has qualified and now works at Royal Preston Hospital as a children’s nurse, had always wanted to work with children but it was when her 10-year-old cousin George Higginson was tragically killed in a road traffic accident in Overton in 2009 that she decided the way to do this was through nursing.

Elena said: “He had just gone out on his new bike and it was very quick and unexpected . He donated his organs which was a massive thing. I’d never even heard of organ donation. I have looked after children that are in the position of being saved by organ donation, and some of George’s organs went to children.If I can be that nurse that makes that rollercoaster a little bit easier, that’s what I want to do. I think it’s amazing that at nine-years-old, George consiously made that decisionto donate his organs.

“If your child is mature enough you should have that discussion with them. You never expect something like this to happen, but working as a nurse you see it does happen.

“We were all so proud of George to think he saved five lives and he made it easier for his parents to make that decision. If that is a legacy to leave it is a pretty good legacy to leave.”

Although the former Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy pupil was only 18 when she decided to become a nurse, Elena has used the last three years at the Unversity of Central Lancashire to gain as much experience as possible including spending four weeks working and fundraising in Tanzania during her studies. She also got the UCLAN school prize UCLAN as the highest achieving student nurse in her field.

“As soon as I went to university I knew I had made the right decision. When this happened to my auntie and uncle, the staff at the hospital were amazing and very supportive and that made me want to be a nurse.”

Elena’s cousin George Higginson died in 2009 after being knocked from his bicycle near his Overton home.

The Overton St Helen’s CE Primary School pupil - known around the village as the ‘little scientist’ – had told his parents that he wanted to be an organ donor if he died.

Police said George’s organs helped save a four-year-old boy who was given his heart; a 15-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis who received his lungs; a 17-year-old boy who was given his liver; a 45-year-old diabetic woman who received one kidney and his pancreas; and a 34-year-old woman who was given his remaining kidney. George was given The Order of St John award for organ donation posthumously, which was presented to his mum and two brothers who accepted it on his behalf.