Friends reflect on 'astounding' legacy of Gabby Marsh
The best friend of an Auckland student who died on her 20th birthday says there's been an outpouring of support since her friend's death, and the news that her donated organs saved six lives.
A university scholarship has been launched in memory of Gabrielle Marsh, and friend Sumner Hutton hopes its recipient will be someone who reflects her legacy.
"Someone as hardworking and determined as Gabby, but also someone who will live their life to the fullest of their potential," Hutton said.
A Givealittle page set up to fund the scholarship had raised more than $34,000 by Friday morning.
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Hutton said the response since Gabby's sudden death has been overwhelming.
"It's been quite astounding really," she said.
"I didn't realise how much of an impact Gabby's life would have on a huge range of people.
"It seems like she's touched a lot of people's hearts."
Gabby was enjoying birthday drinks with friends earlier in March when she complained of a headache.
Hours later, she was lying in agony on the floor of the family home in Avondale while her mother called an ambulance.
Hospital staff confirmed later that night that Gabby had suffered a brain haemorrhage and was unlikely to survive.
Her family made the heartbreaking decision to take her off life support - but only once her organs had been donated.
On Monday, March 6, her 20th birthday, Gabby's kidney, pancreas, lungs, liver and heart valves were all successfully transferred to donor recipients.
Sutton said Gabby's parting gift reflected how she had lived her life.
"She was selfless in all that she did, and I think that came across in the way that she spoke to people," she said.
"She was as close to perfect as anyone could be, and I think she'll be remembered that way."
Sutton said it was fitting that Gabby's legacy should be continued through a student scholarship.
"Even though she's gone, there'll always be a little piece of her at the university," she said.
"It was where she loved to be."