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Finding Hope in Tragedy / Nick Ehrhardt

Finding Hope in Tragedy

Their deaths were heartbreaking, but the tragedies have led to hope for so many more.

Ashley Swart was just 20 when a brain aneurysm struck her suddenly, killing the young Purdue University student. She had dreamed of becoming a psychologist, according to, and helping others, and in death she was able to do just that. Swart was a registered organ donor, so four people received lifesaving transplants. Recently, her family met Melody McIntosh, the woman who received Swart's heart. McIntosh was near death when news came that she was a match. "I wondered, 'Where did this incredible gift come from?' I was so sick and I needed a heart," McIntosh told McIntosh expressed gratitude for the donation, telling the family, "I'm going to live every day of my life honoring her memory. Swart's kidneys, liver and pancreas also were donated to other patients.

In East Sussex, England, Dawn Weston died this summer of cervical cancer at 26, just months after her wedding. At 24, she visited her doctor because of crippling back pain, an early symptom of cervical cancer. The United Kingdom age requirement for a cervical cancer smear test is 25, so Weston was denied the test. By the time she did manage to get tested, she was told her cancer was terminal. Despite her prognosis, Weston pushed on and planned her dream wedding in just five weeks, fulfilling her wish to be married before her death. Now, her family is campaigning to lower the age for smear tests, citing Weston's desire to help others. Her husband, Daniel, told The Telegraph that his wife "wanted something positive to come out of her terminal diagnosis."