Sunday 13 October 2019

Mark makes his final journey home

Mark Sands
Mark Sands

Margaret Roddy

The funeral of Blackrock student Mark Sands is due to take place in his native village this week.

The popular 21 year old UCD student was on an exchange programme with the University of Texas in Austin when he was hit by a car while riding an electric scooter on February 1.

He sustained serious injuries and underwent emergency surgery but passed away with his heartbroken parents Paddy and Ruth and sisters Laura and Aoife at his bedside. He is also survived by grandparents Richard and Joan Martin, aunts Mary, Annemarie, Elaine, and Lisa, uncle Richard, uncles-in-law Carl and Paul, aunt-in-law Catherine, cousins, and Laura's partner, Andy and many friends.

Mark is reposing at his family home today (Tuesday) from 3pm to 8pm. A Liturgical celebration of Mark's life will take place tomorrow in St. Oliver Plunkett Church, Blackrock, at 11am, followed by private cremation on Thursday.

A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the family's expenses has raised over $36,000.

His family have expressed their thanks to all those who donated saying that they are 'overwhelmed by your support and donations. Any funds over and beyond costs and expenses will be distributed to causes meaningful to Mark and the family.'

The family have donated Mark's organs to give other the gift of life to other.

A third year computer science student at UCD, Mark had enrolled in the University of Texas at Austin in the autumn as an exchange student and was a member of the Iron Spikes spirit group.

He had travelled home to Ireland to spend Christmas with his family and had returned to Austin in January.

A book of condolences was opened by the UCD School of Computer Science who described his death as 'a sorrow for all in the UCD community' and expressed their deepest condolences to his family and friends.

The Iron Spikes spirit group at the University of Texas said they were 'deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of Mark Sands. Mark was an incredible man who always brought a smile to those around him. He was a kind, loving, and caring individual who regularly put others first. He was truly a blessing to know and touched so many lives for the better. Mark will be missed greatly, and our organization sends our love and condolences to Mark's family and friends.'

It has also emerged that the type of scooter Mark was riding when he was struck by a Uber car is the subject of calls for an investigation following a number of accidents in the United States.

A spokesperson for the electric-scooter-rental company has been reported as commenting: 'We were devastated to learn of this tragic death here in Austin and our thoughts are with the victim's family and friends during this extremely difficult time.'

The Argus