The mother of a girl who helped inspire a new law making all adults in England potential organ donors has said she is “blown away” by her daughter’s legacy.
Max and Keira’s Law, which comes into effect from Wednesday, means consent will be presumed with people having to opt out if they wish not to be a donor.
It was named after Keira Ball, who died aged nine in 2017, and Max Johnson, now aged 12, who was saved by her heart.
Keira’s mum Loanna, from Devon, said it meant her daughter would outlive her.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live’s Emma Barnett Show, Mrs Ball said: “Kiera was just such a special child and what she’s done is just incredible.
“We’re blown away and she inspires me every single day.
“Now with Max and Keira’s law coming into place, she’s going to outlive us,” she said.
Mrs Ball said it was inspirational to think about what Keira did “in her little nine years that she was here” and the difference she had now made.
Keira, from Barnstaple, died when she was involved in a car crash with her mother and brother.
Max, from Cheshire, who was also nine at the time, had in the same period suffered heart failure following a viral infection. The Johnson family waited 196 days for a new heart to be available for him.
His mother Emma told the BBC she felt a “huge wave of gratitude” towards the Ball family “who under the most extraordinarily traumatic circumstances had the compassion and generosity to say ‘yes’.”
Max and Keira’s families met a year after the transplant in a day Mrs Johnson described as poignant, given the Balls were “able to hear Keira’s heart in Max’s chest”.
The families joined forces to campaign for the opt-out scheme, which has been running in Wales since December 2015.
Under the new legislation, which received royal assent last year, consent will be presumed unless people specifically record a decision to opt out.
Government ministers believe the new rules could save up to 700 lives a year because of the increase in the number of organs available.
“I’m a bit lost for words with it all, I can’t really believe it’s happening,” Mrs Ball said.
“To think that Max and Kiera are part of that, Keira’s legacy will be there forever.”
Mrs Johnson said she was “especially proud” of the Ball family for their resolve in campaigning for the change despite the grief they were experiencing.