THE parents of a toddler who died after falling from an upstairs window of his home wept as a priest paid an emotional tribute to them for selflessly offering “the gift of life” to four other children.
Vidas and Aukse Martinaitis donated the organs of their son, Vakaris (2) who died just 72 hours before his second birthday last week.
Four children, two in Ireland and two in the UK, subsequently received transplants as a result.
Vidas and Aukse were embraced after the Mass of the Angels for their son, Vakaris (2), by former All-Ireland hurling star, Kevin Hennessy, who had driven him to hospital on April 6 in a desperate bid to save the toddler’s life.
Mr Hennessy is a neighbour of the Martinaitis family in the Paddocks estate in Castleredmond outside Midleton and came across Vidas as he was desperately trying to help his son who had fallen from an upstairs window while playing.
The fact Vakaris had to be transferred to hospital by private car has sparked a major investigation into ambulance cover and 999 emergency call management by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Today, over 200 people gathered at the Church of the Holy Rosary in Midleton, Co Cork to support Vidas and Aukse and their daughter, Agneta (8).
Vakaris’ coffin arrived at the church covered with the toddler’s two favourite cuddly toys, both dogs, a teddy bear cross and a blue balloon.
His sister Agneta’s Holy Communion class choir from Midleton national school provided the hymns.
Fr Marek Pecak told mourners that Vakaris was “an angel who was called home to heaven by the Lord.”
“Vakaris died in a very tragic accident last week. Our heartfelt sympathy goes to Vidas and Aukse and their daughter. We cannot even begin to feel their pain and loss. Words cannot penetrate the depth of their grief.”
He said local people were struggling to come to terms with “the agony and desolation” caused by the freak tragedy and the death of such a beautiful young child.
“Vidas and Aukse are a shining example of Christ-like love and compassion. In all their pain and anguish they reached out to others,” he said.
“When they had lost their darling Vakaris they wanted his short but beautiful life to have a profound effect. They have done this in a very beautiful and generous way by donating his organs so that other children may have a much improved quality and length of life.”
“So four young children have received life as they have received transplants….help us to live by the example that Vidas and Aukse have shown us.”
The tightknit Midleton community had rallied together to help the young couple with mourners at the Church from the Irish, Polish, Brazilian, Lithuanian and African communities.
“We believe strongly that Angel Vakaris is in heaven with God. Everyone here today prays for the family (of) Vakaris…our heartfelt sympathy goes out to these special parents and their daughter.”
Vidas and Aukse said they will “never forget the kindness shown to us by everyone” but particularly Mr Hennessy and their Midleton friends