Sunday 21 July 2019

Tributes to Mark after US accident

21-year-old exchange student died after a road accident in Texas

Margaret Roddy

The mother of the Blackrock student who died following a road accident in Texas has written to thank his fellow students and friends for their kindness.

Mark Sands from was an exchange student at the University of Texas at Austin.

The 21-year-old had joined the university’s Fall ‘18 class of the Texas Iron Spikes and had thrown himself into university life, endearing himself to fellow students.

A past pupil of Blackrock NS and Dundalk Grammar School, Mark was doing a computer science course at UCD and had taken the opportunity of an exchange year to broaden his horizons. He had returned to Austin in January after spending Christmas at home in Blackrock.

After he was involved in a serious accident while riding a scooter last Friday, a fellow student who set u0p a GoFundMe page to help the family’s travelling expenses said ‘If you’ve ever been lucky enough to meet Mark you’ve surely noticed his constant smile. He was one of the most charming and amusing people you will ever meet. Mark never met a stranger or someone he didn’t like. He had a passion for everyone he knew and he always looked out for others.’

Heartfelt tributes were paid by other students and their parents, some of whom had met Mark when he acted as photographer for the Iron Spikes parent/student night.

His heartbroken parents Paddy and Ruth and sisters Aoife and Laura travelled to Austin to be at his bedside after he underwent emergency surgery but sadly he passed away. They decided to donate his organs to help others.

Writing on the GoFundMe page yesterday (Monday afternoon) his mother Ruth said: ‘We are overwhelmed by all you support. Your comments are uplifting and a great comfort to us.’

She explained that Mark’s organs were being harvested and asked that his friends to play the U2 song Elevation and take a few minutes to remember him, saying that it would be playing in the operating theatre.

‘It was a very special song between Mark and I and one I was going to dance with him at his wedding and do our goofy dance,’ she said. ‘It would mean a lot to me’.

‘Such sadness is overwhelming us. X’

The Argus