How this 13-year-old waterski champion saved four lives
AUSTRALIAN junior waterski champion Blake Tickell, who died during a race, has made the ultimate gift to four people thanks to the donation of his organs.
Blake's father and mother Darren and Simone Tickell made the decision on December 11, a day after the 13-year-old Rouse Hill local died at The Children's Hospital at Westmead from injuries during the race at Cowra.
"This will be the worst imaginable Christmas for us but for four other people and their families, it will be a great Christmas," Mr Tickell told the Times.
"The one good thing from Blake's death is that his organs (kidney, liver, lungs and spleen) were successful transplanted to four people.
"Blake would have wanted it and we wanted to do it because he such a special person."
In 2015, the family of Nathan Gremmo, also 13, donated his organs, after the Glenhaven boy was killed in a road accident. Nathan's legacy is annually remembered through Jersey Day.
The Marian Catholic College student's death touched hundreds of people and Mr Tickell said no one was to blame for the accident.
Blake was crowned Rouse Hill Times Junior Sports Star at the 2017 NewsLocal ceremony in November, after a phenomenal season where he won the Australian and NSW under-13 titles.
"My son and I took every precaution before the race re: equipment and speed and there is nothing anyone could have done on that day (to prevent it)," Mr Tickell said.
"It was a freak and unfortunate accident and we are comforted by the massive support from everyone.
"Blake was a self driven young man who loved what he was doing and had the mental strength.
"Before every race, he would say a prayer, make a sign of the cross in a private manner before getting into his headspace after doing his usual routines.
"He was gracious both in victory and defeat, and always supported the others, telling those who missed the start: 'Don't worry, this is just a race and you will get another chance next time'."
Mr Tickell said the family has begun a GoFundMe page to provide funds for The Children's Hospital at Westmead and The Toll Rescue Helicopter Service because," they were supreme in helping us".
Blake's funeral will be held on Wednesday, December 20 at the Hillsong Church, Baulkham Hills, at 11am.