When silence can inspire a voice…


Caitlin McBride (3)

Sometimes struggle is on the outside, and plain for all to see.

But sometimes it’s hidden, silent, locked away.  Even then, sitting and doing what you need to do can be more than you imagine.  You never know what else you might be achieving…

Today is International Women’s Day and the theme this year is #InspireInclusion.

We are privileged to post this blog from Caitlin McBride, a courageous and honest story of personal struggle, of unspoken inspiration between two young women, and a deep commitment to inspire and support others.


“This is the first piece of non-academic writing that I’ve undertaken in a while, and the first that will be publicly viewable. I’m unsure how to start, but I feel it is most fitting to begin this blog by approaching it as a conversation; in the spirit of Live Loudly Donate Proudly.

Hi, my name is Caitlin; I’m a counselling student, judo player, and of course – organ donor. I joined the organ donor register in early secondary school, as a result of Lucia’s passionate campaign and inspirational story. (Lucia, founder of Live loudly Donate Proudly.)  I went home that day, and when asked about what I had learned that school day, I told my family about Lucia and brought the conversation about organ donation to the kitchen table.

Lucia’s impact on me did not end there. During my time in sixth form, a particularly difficult period in my personal life, I watched her studying alone from just a few tables away in the library and was inspired by her drive and resilience. Unknown to either of us, we had a shared struggle at the time with disordered eating – and not only that, we also had a shared reason for continuing to study despite the ailments that troubled us both. We both aspired to pass on the care bestowed upon us by the healthcare professionals who provided pillars in our support systems.

It wasn’t until I overcame the social anxiety hindering me from contacting the Live Loudly Donate Proudly Facebook page that I found out about our similarities, because I never approached Lucia back in high school. I wanted to tell her family how much of an inspiration Lucia was to me back then, and how her character – so full of life and determination – continues to shape my discipline and motivate me through academic challenges on my journey to becoming a therapist in the mental health field.

That journey was not always smooth sailing; consisting of a few gap years, a few episodes of wondering if I was good enough to contribute to the field of mental healthcare and a lot of introspection as well as personal development.

Throughout this transition I have connected with so many wonderful people and challenged the most stubborn of limiting beliefs. I realised how the support of others can become a source of strength, and how uplifting connection as well as communities can be. In this endeavour to facilitate a safe space for people like Lucia, myself, and so many others who hold their struggles silently – I learned that many of us will unknowingly be a light in someone else’s sepia toned world. They may not always tell you; but you inspire people purely by being yourself.

Chatting to David (Lucia’s dad), learning of her sister Alice’s current role in schools across the pond supporting students and defending them from the demands of the education system that weighed so heavily on me as a teenager truly helped to solidify the realisation that there are so many people out there willing to offer those of us feeling lost, their shoulders to lean on. That there is constant care and connection between all human beings – and that strangers are simply people we have yet to learn from or build a relationship with.

I always regretted not approaching Lucia in the library back then, but only when I experienced huge loss myself did I realise how heart-warming it can be to hear stories about those loved ones who are no longer with us and what they mean to others. Only then did I realise how precious time is, and how important it is to say the kind things that you think of others aloud to them. I didn’t want to regret not approaching her family either, so I started the conversation. As it turns out, and as David so wonderfully worded in his response, “No gift of kindness is ever wasted.”

Our conversation led to me sitting here, writing this blog by the beach and thinking about Lucia, her legacy and her family’s continuation of that. Thinking about kindness; thinking about my lost loved ones; and the invisible string that connects us all – regardless of if we interact. I find it wonderful how our natural way of being can be a source of inspiration and how such amazing things can come from approaching a conversation – especially when it’s not exactly easy or includes a topic that we often ignore; whether that be organ donation, ill mental health or anything else.

I feel extremely privileged to have been offered the space to write here on Live Loudly Donate Proudly and hope that I have done its ethos justice. I am so sincerely grateful for the conversation that followed a successful fight with my social anxiety and I’m so very thankful that you’ve read along and joined the conversation.”

Caitlin McBride

Big Yellow Friday…

Yesterday, 1st March, was Big Yellow Friday.  A day when the Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF) ramp up their programme of fundraising and awareness raising. Supporters wearing yellow in various guises, baking yellow cakes for sale, sponsored dish washing in those fashionable yellow rubber gloves.  It even coincided with St. David’s Day this year adding something else to the waving of yellow daffodils.

Daffodil Big Yellow Friday 1.3.24

Yellow?  Simple.  Jaundice is when your skin or the whites of your eyes begin to show tinges of yellow.  It can be one of the early and developing symptoms that all is not well with a liver.

It was that sign of yellow in the whites of her eyes that took Lucia, the founder of Live Loudly Donate Proudly, to her local GP.  He triggered a process of attention that led to an emergency liver transplant after acute liver failure.  The yellowing of her eyes gave enough warning for Lucia to be in the heart of the hospital system before the crisis took hold.  Well worth watching for the warnings of yellow…

After her second transplant, just over a year later, Big Yellow Friday was Lucia’s first fundraising venture, along with the enthusiastic support of her sister and their friends.  It also helped her find her voice as she gave her first public, illustrated presentation on organ donation, aged 10.  In years to come Lucia was a regular supporter, participant and speaker in CLDF events and conferences.

CLDF is a firm favourite of ours in Live Loudly Donate Proudly.  It’s a fantastic organisation with a wealth of experience and resources to help children, young people, and their families weave their own ways through a world of new languages, big issues and complicated experiences.  Packed with resources, from leaflets about baby jaundice and even a colour chart of a baby’s stools, to inspirational information packs for young people on how to manage an inclusive range of growing-up experiences alongside liver disease and transplants.  More information packs for parents, for schools, and even for GPs.  Blogs and newsletters for health professionals, and grant support for vital paediatric liver research.

CLDF offers direct, personal and group support for children and young people, through events, residentials, and programmes.  ‘Talk, Tell, Transform’ was an excellent residential programme bringing young people together to share their experiences, learn from and support each other, and then through learning film-making skills, turn their stories into honest, moving, funny resources for others.  (Youtube playlist of CLDF Talk Tell Transform )  That programme is temporarily parked, but Hive, a “Facebook-based social network created by young people exclusively for young people with a liver condition or transplant” continues to cater for 13-15 year-olds and Hive+ for 16 – 24 year olds.

In a few weeks time, CLDF is to merge with the British Liver Trust, becoming one larger organisation in the belief and hope that they will be better together, better for each other, stronger and more effective and resourceful for others.

So, on Big Yellow Friday, we raised a yellow bun and a daffodil for this excellent organisation that offers solid and creative support for those who, out of the blue, find the hint of yellow that plunges them into new and demanding worlds.

Well worth a day of extra attention – and its always a good day for any support you are willing to give… Thank you, CLDF…

Lucia speaking at Children's Liver Disease Foundation Conference