Gabby was celebrating her 20th birthday with friends. Hours later, she was dead.

Earlier this month, on what would have been her 20th birthday, Gabby Marsh was wheeled into a surgery that would save the lives of at least six people.

Just hours earlier, the then-19-year-old was celebrating her birthday with some friends over a few drinks. Before the group was due to head out, Gabby developed a sudden headache and within the space of an hour was unconscious and on life support.

It was a brain haemorrhage, her family were told. It was sudden, unexpected and unpreventable. And she wouldn’t survive.

Talking to the New Zealand Herald, Gabby’s mother Kathryn said her daughter “loved doing things for other people” and for this reason had always intended to donate her organs.

Gabby’s organs saved the lives of at least six people; her kidney, pancreas, lungs, liver and heart valves were all successfully donated.

“Of course, more than anything, we would love to have her here, but that’s not to be,” Kathryn told the paper.

“But if anything good can come out of it, if she has helped people, then that’s comforting.”

It was within hours of her friends arriving for the birthday celebrations that Gabby developed the headache, her mother told the paper. It was “getting worse and worse”, she began throwing up and slurring her words. Suspecting a severe migraine, Kathryn called an ambulance.

Image: GiveaLittle.

Just over a day later, Gabby would be taken off life support and be donating her organs and saving multiple lives. Her death was compounded by the death of Gabby's father some 17 months earlier after a long illness.

In the weeks following her death, a GiveaLittle fundraiser has been created to raise money for a scholarship in Gabby's name. According to the fundraising page, the scholarship will be offered annually a young school leaver who demonstrates "exceptional character and service" to fulfill their dream of studying commerce at the University of Auckland.

The page describes the late university student as "passionate, fun loving and kind".

"She smiled easily and often. She was selfless, considerate and generous. She was someone who impacted everyone she met.

"Gabby changed the lives of so many around her, and we dream for her character and kindness to continue changing the life of others."

More than $30,000 had been raised for the fund at the time of writing.

To register on the Australian Organ Donor Register, click here.

Meshel Laurie talks to Megan, an organ donation recipient, who talks about her life and how thankful she is.