Tributes to 39-year-old South Tyneside mum of three who lost her fight for life 15 years after having a liver transplant

A mum-of-three who campaigned for an opt-out organ donor system after receiving a transplant 15 years ago has sadly lost her fight for life.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 4:50 pm
Emma Corkin (centre) with daughter Ebbie (left) partner Tony and son Daniel.

Loved ones of Emma Corkin, who passed away in the early hours of Saturday, February 29 aged 39, have paid tribute to the “caring” mum, friend and partner, who had a “heart of gold”.

The system will mean that all adults in England will be considered to have agreed to donate their own organs when they die unless they explicitly state otherwise.

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Emma Corkin and partner of seven years, Tony Snee.

It is expected to lead to an additional 700 transplants every year by 2023.

In 2005 she was diagnosed with a rare form of hepatitis and given just days to live as she was placed on the emergency transplant list.

Luckily a donor was found after the mother of a 42-year-old woman in Leeds, who had died in a road accident, made the decision to honour her daughter’s wishes and donate her organs - and Emma underwent a liver transplant.

Emma Corkin has lost her fight aged 39.

In the years that followed she threw herself into charity work for Livernorth, a national liver patient support group based at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle where she was treated.

Mum to Daniel, 21, Nikita, 15, and Ebbie, 12, Emma campaigned to see the opt-out donor system brought in and welcomed last week’s news.

“Deep down I think she was hoping it would help her,” said her partner of seven years, Tony Snee, 59.

Around a year ago Emma began experiencing complications with her transplant and had been in and out of hospital for a number of months.

Emma Corkin with daughter Ebbie.

On Christmas night, 2019 she was taken to the Freeman Hospital where medics advised her that she needed a new liver and kidney, but unfortunately she was too unwell to undergo a transplant.

After spending her 39th birthday on February 24, at home with her family she was taken back into hospital and placed on the high dependency unit.

“She lost her ability to fight,” said Tony.

“She didn’t give up, she was still her cheeky self, but it just took everything out of her.

Emma Corkin with daughters Nikita and Ebbie in 2018.

“It’s a blessing in a way that she’s no longer in pain anymore.”

Tony and Emma, who lived together in Low Simonside, met while they both were working at the Port of Tyne.

“She was pretty hard not to fall in love with, she had such an effect on everyone,” he said.

Tony has been flooded with messages of support since announcing the sad news, including from many of Emma’s fellow patients who she had befriended in hospital.

“I didn’t realise how much impact she had on people,” he added.

“She had a heart of gold and cared so much for everyone, probably more than she did for herself.”