Casey Kinnaird, who died on Tuesday from injuries sustained in a cycling accident, was a driven entrepreneur, who was running a successful financial services company.
The 35-year-old had been training for her second Ironman challenge in March and had recently joined a surf lifesaving club.
We had 15 minutes to make a decision as to whether we would operate to save her life.
In March last year, she competed in the New Zealand Taupo Ironman event, which included a 180-kilometre bike ride.
“She was very giving. She worked amazingly hard and every single day,” her younger sister, Jevada Kinnaird, 28, said.
Casey Kinnaird was the chief rider in a triathlon cycling group, when she took a narrow corner along McKell Avenue in Waterfall incorrectly, and collided with an oncoming car about 7.15am on Saturday, police and Jevada Kinnaird said.
She suffered multiple broken bones, severe abdominal trauma and a stroke that affected the right side of her body, and was flown to St George Hospital.
She was put into an induced coma, and on Monday, her family were given 15 minutes to decide whether to let doctors operate on her swelling brain.
“We had 15 minutes to make a decision as to whether we would operate to save her life. If we saved her life then she would be in a vegetative state for the rest of her life,” Jevada Kinnaird said.
“If anyone knew Casey, everything happens for a reason and we know she would not have wanted to be in a vegetative state.”
Casey Kinnaird was born in Whanganui, New Zealand, before she moved to Sydney at the age of 18.
She got married in 2004 and was living with her husband, Matty, in Cronulla in Sydney’s south.
She founded financial services company Bespoke Advisory Services and had recently been named the NSW Crusader for the entrepreneurial support group League of Extraordinary Women.
“Casey was very giving, very generous, and always contributing towards the League,” the group’s general manager, Chiquita Searle, said.
“Casey’s one of those people that you speak to and just her energy and spirit comes through the phone.”
Ms Searle said Ms Kinnaird had thrown herself into her role as an ambassador for female entrepreneurs and was planning to use shared office space company Hub Australia to help women run their businesses from home this year.
Ms Searle said Ms Kinnaird was “fuelled by a passion to help people”, and was extremely humbled after she travelled to Cambodia to help build shelters for the homeless late last year.
On Tuesday afternoon, Ms Kinnaird’s life support was turned off and her organs were donated, including her heart valves, which will be transplanted into sick children.
Her parents, two sisters and their partners and children will take her body back to New Zealand, where she will be cremated.
They will return to Cronulla to scatter her ashes in a memorial service on February 6.
“We want to be able to give back to Casey’s friends and family in Sydney and to ensure everybody can join us and celebrate her life,” Jevada Kinnaird said.
“We’re just really appreciative of lots of people for their support and we know that Casey’s touched a lot of people’s lives and we just want to thank everyone.”
She said the family had spoken to the driver involved in the crash, and thanked him for staying with the victim until paramedics arrived.
“There was never any ill feeling. It wasn’t his fault at all. We’ve made peace with him.”