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