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Stefan will live on as organ donor

PUBLISHED: 18:06 11 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:10 03 July 2010

Liz Coates

MORE than 70 people could benefit from organs and tissue donated by a Hemsby teenager who died last week following a road accident.

Although Stefan Hilton, 19, suffered relatively minor injuries following the crash at West Somerton, the swelling in his brain was so severe there was no hope of recovery.

MORE than 70 people could benefit from organs and tissue donated by a Hemsby teenager who died last week following a road accident.

Although Stefan Hilton, 19, suffered relatively minor injuries following the crash at West Somerton, the swelling in his brain was so severe there was no hope of recovery.

Doctors at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge prepared his devastated parents Susan and Derek Hilton for the worst last Wednesday when Stefan suddenly deteriorated. The machines that were keeping him alive were switched off two days later.

Mrs Hilton, 40, said this week that the potential for so many lives to be improved or saved - his eyes and skin alone helping around 50 people - was a great comfort.

What had been damaged in the accident could be used in research but his liver, kidneys, heart valves and pancreas were in tip-top condition and could be put to good use, she added.

Stefan had made a pact with other family members to join the register as soon as he was 16 following the tragic death of his 12-year-old cousin Ross in 1997, also in a road accident.

Mrs Hilton, who has just moved from Hemsby to The Esplanade, Scratby, and runs the pound shop Old English Fair in Hemsby, said the family understood from experience that death could strike at any age and that no-one knew what was around the corner - even for Stefan's three year old sister Sophie, their “surprise” new addition.

Stefan's family this week described him as a typical teenager who could be grouchy at home but was popular in his social circle which revolved around Hemsby fairground where he had worked for four years, and MBs entertainment complex.

A strapping lad who loved his food, playing on his X-box, Manchester United, and spinning the girls on the waltzers, Stefan was a night owl who “didn't do mornings.”

His fiery temperament meant he sometimes clashed with his family when things didn't go his way but he had a great sense of humour too and is described as “endearing.”

The irony of giving away so much in death when he closely guarded what he had in life would not have been lost on him, his mother said.

A former Stalham High School pupil, he left home at 16, albeit living only a stone's throw away from the family home. At the time of his death he was living with his best friend Simon Durrant.

When the accident happened, it is thought he was driving from Stalham to MBs to catch the Manchester Utd v Barcelona match. His passenger walked away with minor injuries.

Stefan suffered a broken shoulder, broken ribs and a broken finger. His lungs filled with water when the car plunged into a ditch but it was the head injuries that were noted as the cause of death.

He would have celebrated his 20th birthday next Friday and aspired to becoming a nightclub doorman. The family have planted an apple tree in the garden in his memory.

Mrs Hilton said that while doctors had never said Stefan was out of danger she fully expected to bring him home for a long period of rehabilitation and was planning to create a bedroom downstairs for him. Instead she is planning his funeral.

The family is passionate about being on the organ donor register. Mrs Hilton said: “Even if I am told that just one person has been helped it's good because sadly my son was going to die anyway. I have a three year old and you never know what might happen in the future. I might be grateful one day. Stefan still has his spirit and his soul and through the organs he has donated he is still going to live on.”

Stefan's funeral is on Wednesday at Hemsby Church at 11.30am followed by burial at Caister with his grandfather John Hilton and a wake at MBs

To join the organ donor register contact the donor line on 0300 1232323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk. Around 1000 of the 8000 people waiting for transplants will die before they get one because of the shortage of organs.

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