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Christchurch dad saves lives through organ donation

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Mar 2023, 10:06am
Devoted dad Mike Worley, also known as Lenny, pictured with his daughters Lucy (left) and Charlotte. Photo / Facebook
Devoted dad Mike Worley, also known as Lenny, pictured with his daughters Lucy (left) and Charlotte. Photo / Facebook

Christchurch dad saves lives through organ donation

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Fri, 24 Mar 2023, 10:06am

Christchurch man Mike Worley was known for his big personality, his passion for the outdoors and his love for people.

That love for others has continued even after his death, with his organs - including his heart - being donated to help save the lives of other Kiwis.

The 55-year-old died in hospital earlier this month after a tragic accident while at a barbeque with friends and family.

Worley’s brother, Anton Worley, told Stuff that Mike had been in the kitchen eating some leftover steak when a piece of meat became lodged in his throat.

“He sort of said: ‘I’m choking’. And at that stage there were two other good mates there. Straight away, we started first aid on him,” Anton told the publication.

They carried out CPR while waiting for the ambulance, which arrived a few minutes later.

‘Even in passing, he continues to give’

Despite the group managing to dislodge the piece of food, Mike Worley never regained consciousness. He died in hospital four days later.

At his funeral last week, friends and family came together to remember a person who loved sports and the outdoors and liked to keep up a healthy lifestyle.

Mike Worley was known for his love of the outdoors, sports and as a dedicated dad. Photo / Facebook

Mike Worley was known for his love of the outdoors, sports and as a dedicated dad. Photo / Facebook

He was also a dedicated and very active dad to his two daughters, Charlotte and Lucy, and a loving partner to Suz, who revealed to mourners - gathered in person and watching on an online livestream - that Mike had been an organ donor.

Several of his organs, including what she described as his “precious heart” have been donated and will go on to help a number of people, including children, in New Zealand.

“Even in passing, he continues to give,” his partner said.

Worley was widely known for his support of his daughters and their curricular activities, growing up.

Olympia Gymnastic Sports honoured a man they said was a valued volunteer for the club for many years and for being a wonderful gym dad.

‘The best bear hugs after a rough day’ - daughter Charlotte

Charlotte and Lucy talked of an adventurous dad who was always taking them on outdoor trips and, in the process, teaching them perseverance.

“Dad was so generous and quick to think of others,” Charlotte said.

“We’ll miss him giving the best bear hugs after a rough day, getting every answer wrong on The Chase...and ringing him whenever a red warning light appears on the dash of my car.”

Lucy said a special karakia at her dad’s service. She called him her anchor and soulmate - and the only person who could keep her in line.

“I will cherish every single memory of you over the years and all the amazing things that we have done as a family.”

“I will always miss your amazing smile, laugh and silly dad jokes. I’ll miss your singing and tapping away to your favourite songs in the car.”

Anton Worley acknowledged he was still in “unbelievable shock” that his brother had died so early, given the healthy lifestyle he had lived.

‘Best big brother’

Anton spoke of a childhood filled with great memories of family trips with their mum and dad and their shared love of various sports and outdoor activities including scuba diving, cricket, rugby league and golf.

“Everything we’ve tried, we’ve normally done together.

“We seem to encourage and egg each other on the right way - to try and enjoy new sports [and] especially if there was a chance for us to meet new people and there was a strong social side to it.”

Anton said his brother’s personality and booming laugh quickly earned him lots of friends.

Becoming emotional, he honoured his brother for being the most supportive, hardworking role model and the “go-to guy” for everything in his life.

“To be his brother, to see...his love and support of Charlotte and Lucy throughout their lives makes me so proud.

“Char and Luce, as [your] godfather, I know I could never go close. I can only pledge to try to emulate some of the fantastic support and qualities as he was - your dad.

“Truly the very best big brother and best friend. Love you forever, bro.”

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