Three lives saved by Dane who died trying to catch school bus
The family of a 16-year-old boy who died crossing a busy road to catch the bus to school has said they will never get over the tragic loss.
Dane Loakman (16), from Sallins, Co Kildare, was struck as he crossed the main Clane road near his house on November 27 last year.
He was rushed to Naas General Hospital and then transferred to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, where he died the following day.
His devoted mum Alison (38) donated his organs, and as a result three other lives were saved, Dane's aunt Bernie Johnston told the Herald.
She told how the family are now campaigning for better road safety measures in the Sallins area, to ensure that this tragedy does not happen to anyone else.
Bernie said that the large Castlefen estate that Dane lived in has no pedestrian crossing at the entrance, and that children have to cross an extremely wide section of the road, and there are no traffic calming measures in place there.
She said Alison and Dane's brother Codey (19) and the rest of his close-knit family are completely heartbroken at his death.
"We will never get over this," Bernie said. "People say 'time is a healer' and we know they mean well. But we don't want time. We just want Dane back.
"Any parent or family that has lost a child will understand the pain and the heartache we are going through, as it is a different grief," she said.
"He had his whole life ahead of him and to be taken away from us so tragically is a living nightmare," said Bernie.
The local community has rallied around the family, and a series of fundraising events will be held this weekend April 13-15, including tea and coffee mornings, a quiz night, a disco and a soccer and GAA match.
"The village and community have been so supportive, and the family are overwhelmed with love and support they have given us at this very sad time," said Bernie.
She said that Dane had a "lovely bunch of friends" who stay in contact with Alison and Codey, and they miss him very much, too.
Speaking about the teen, she said: "Dane's death is such a loss to the family. It's getting harder as the days go by, as we miss him so much.
"Dane was a vibrant young lad. He always had a smile on his face which we dearly miss.
"He lived his short life to the fullest, loved music and was always dancing and up for the craic," she said.
"Family gatherings will never be the same for us. His grandparents miss him terribly, as do all of the family," she said.
"There is a light gone in our family which will never go back on," said Bernie.
She said that Alison worshipped her two boys, and always worked hard, and ensured they had a happy life.
"They never wanted for anything," said Bernie.
"We would give anything to have Dane back, to see his smile, watch him dance. He just loved life. But that's sadly gone, taken away from us in a split second.
"We never got to say goodbye," said Bernie.
"We hope and pray that he's at peace, and pain free and looking down at us, and watching over us.
"No parent should have to see their child die like that," she added.
The family now urgently want to see resources put into Sallins by Kildare County Council to enhance safety on the roads, according to Bernie, including things such as signage to slow down, speed ramps and traffic calming measures.
"We do not want any family to go through what we are going through, as it's just a living nighmare," said Bernie.
The accident happened around 20 weeks ago, but it still feels like yesterday to the grieving family.
Bernie told the Herald that the popular teenager will never be forgotten, and will forever be missed by all who loved him.
A spokesperson for Kildare County Council told the Herald that: "Traffic management and pedestrian safety issues in the vicinity of Castlefen, Sallins, are currently under examination by the council's Roads Department.
"The construction of the Sallins Bypass, currently under way and anticipated to be completed over the next two years, will yield significant benefits to the Sallins community and surrounding road network.
"On completion and analysis of traffic and pedestrian counts in the vicinity of Castlefen, Kildare County Council will shortly determine if the provision of additional traffic calming and controlled crossing points are warranted at this time."
Meanwhile, a Garda spokesperson told the Herald that the investigation into the incident is ongoing.