The heartbroken family of an eight-year-old girl who died suddenly from a rare brain condition have taken comfort in the fact she may save up to five lives.

Kathleen Gildea's life changed when her daughter Caireann Dawn Gildea came into the room one weekend "screaming that her head was exploding".

Ms Gildea, who lives in the Melbourne suburb of Point Cook, said Caireann started struggling to breathe and turned blue very quickly.

The girl was rushed to the hospital but a scan revealed that she had suffered a ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in her brain stem and there was nothing that could be done.

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Caireann Dawn Gildea died after suffering a ruptured AVM — an arteriovenous malformation, or tangle of blood vessels — in her brain.
Caireann Dawn Gildea died after suffering a ruptured AVM — an arteriovenous malformation, or tangle of blood vessels — in her brain.

"Our beautiful girl's heart stopped beating. She was 8 and a half years old," Ms Gildea said in a GoFundMe post.

"The silver lining, she saved three lives through organ donations. She would be proud of that and we knew that is what she would have wanted."

Ms Gildea told 7news.com.au that Caireann's kidneys were donated to a man and a woman who had both been on dialysis for years. A teenage boy received her liver.

Two heart valves were also removed and are being stored for possible future transplantation, which means Caireann could eventually save five lives.

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Caireann’s kidneys and liver were donated, and her heart could help save two more.
Caireann’s kidneys and liver were donated, and her heart could help save two more.

The family have now launched a GoFundMe on the one-year anniversary of Caireann's death to raise money for Red Nose, Ambulance Victoria and the Point Cook Fire Brigade.

The eight-year-old ran to her mother one day ‘screaming that her head was exploding’.
The eight-year-old ran to her mother one day ‘screaming that her head was exploding’.

"The team of paramedics and guys from CFA [Country Fire Authority] tried so hard, for so long. They were absolutely unbelievable," the couple wrote.

"We are forever thankful."

Originally published as Girl, 8, saves five people's lives


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