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Claire Gardiner, of Heighington, near Darlington, died just hours after brain tumour was found
A FAMILY has paid tribute to a “loving and caring” 30-year-old woman who died hours after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Claire Gardiner tragically passed away in hospital after the tumour spread and left her blind in one eye.
Miss Gardiner, of Heighington, near Darlington, was an organ donor, and three people in the 20s and a man in his 60s are now recovering from operations after receiving transplants following Claire's death.
Her family last night urged people to become donors and help save lives.
Miss Gardiner had been told by doctors she was suffering from migraines.
Her brother, Eddie, said his sister was extremely charitable and would always try to help those less fortunate.
He said: “Claire was a loving caring person who would help anyone and in anyway that she could.
“She wouldn't pass anyone in need if she could help and she would always give money to all of the Big Issue sellers she passed while out shopping.
“At Christmas time she would send Christmas cards to Salvation Army to give out to people who wouldn't have received anything, and tried to spread some cheer to those in need.
“For her 30th birthday she even paid for us all to go to her favourite city, Rome, to celebrate, and at 17 she registered as an organ donor.
“Even after her death she wanted to help people.”
Mr Gardiner said his sister, who lived in Vicarage Court, in Heighington, with her Maltese puppy, Bella, was taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital suffering from increased vomiting that left her unable to eat or drink for more than a week.
She was given fluids and discharged but during the night woke her brother, Matthew, 25, after losing sight in her left eye.
She was rushed back into hospital and transferred to The James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where doctors found the tumour had swollen across her brain.
Mr Gardiner said: “The tumour was 10cm by 10cm and causing huge pressure on her brain.
“They tried to reduce the swelling but it had acted aggressively to the medication and they couldn't help her.”
Miss Gardiner worked in the NHS supply chain with DHL, and was previously employed as a solicitor with Clarke Willis as an immigration case worker.
Outside work, Mr Gardiner said she had a real passion for motorcycling.
He said: “She loved her jobs, and like all girls she loved spending money on handbags and shoes.
“But she wasn't a girly girl, she also loved her Honda motorbike and would regularly come out riding with me and Matthew and would not be outdone by the boys.
“Anything we did, she would have a go at too, even when our mum, Donella, tried to bribe her with a BMW convertible car to stop her getting a bike licence.
“We spent a lot of time together and were really close, and everyone knew how kind and caring Claire was.”
A Just Giving fund, set up in Miss Gardiner's memory by her family, has raised more than £1,500 for the Salvation Army.
Anthony Kennedy, a specialist nurse at NHS Blood and Transplant Organ Donation, said: “Our condolences go out to Claire's family.
“Losing someone you love is never easy and deciding to donate their organs can be difficult.
“By signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register Claire made her wishes known so her family were able to make the decision with the knowledge that they had respected these wishes.
“With around 10,000 people needing an organ transplant in the UK and three people dying every day, it's vital that people show their support for organ donation by signing up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and telling their families.”
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