Thursday, April 27, 2017

Charity race jockeys visit local dialysis patient

Jockeys who will be competing in Saturday's annual Punchestown Charity Race visited kidney dialysis patient Padraig Moloney and his wife Liz in Kilcullen on Tuesday evening to see at first hand how important supporting the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund is, writes Brian Byrne.

Padraig and Liz spoke about life on haemo dialysis, and demonstrated the home dialysis unit which he uses. "This gave the jockeys an unbelievable insight into the kind of thing they are helping," says Kilcullen's James Nolan, who set up the race 28 years ago following his own experience as a kidney donor recipient from his sister Catherine.

Pictured above are Padraig Moloney with Punchestown Kidney Research Fund race jockeys Deirdre Hogan, Trudie Smith and Kilcullen's Siobhan O'Sullivan.

A new Renal Ward will be opened in Temple Street Children's Hospital in September of this year, helped by funds raised with the PKRF race. The race is traditionally the final event of the Punchestown Festival Week and this year will have a strong Kildare interest among the 25 jockeys taking part. They include Maria Kelly from Sallins, Richy Walsh from Naas and local favourite Kilcullen’s Siobhan O'Sullivan. All have passed their fitness assessments at RACE in order to be able to participate and all have raised the required €1,250 for PKRF.

The race has raised over €1.4m to date. A variety of projects have been helped by the Fund, including the purchase of a holiday home in Tralee, Co Kerry, specifically for kidney dialysis patients.

The Fund has also sponsored a Newman Scholar at UCD under the stewardship of Dr Bill Watson to research better ways to transport kidneys prior to transplantation.

A Cancer Screening programme for kidney recipients has also been supported, under Dr Gillian Murphy, Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.

An Art Therapy programme for dialysis patients has been funded in both Tallaght and Waterford Hospitals, which provides art lessons for patients while they are receiving treatment.

The Fund has also sponsored transplant recipients to represent Ireland at the World & European Transplant Games.

Support has been provided for the Home Haemo Dialysis Training Unit at Beaumont Hospital, National Transplant Centre, where patients are trained to do their own dialysis in the comfort of their own home.

Through 2016-2017 the PKRF has committed to invest over €275,000 in various kidney related projects, including €150,000 to support the new renal unit at Temple Street Children’s Hospital, and €100,000 for two kidney-related research projects under the guidance of the Irish Nephrology Society.

Support will also be continued for the Art Therapy programme and the Sports programme for Dialysis & Transplant Patients.

As always the PKRF tries to create organ donor awareness through the running of the Charity Race and James Nolan politely asks people to consider carrying an Organ Donor Card. He suggests that people pick one up in any Pharmacy and read the information leaflet inside the card.

“Have a chat about the Donor Card at home and feel free to make your own mind up and let your family know your wishes,” he says. “I was so lucky to receive a kidney transplant from my sister Catherine back in 1987 and I can promise everyone it is the greatest gift I have received in my lifetime. Catherine gave me the Gift of Life when she donated one of her kidneys to me — and 30 years on, both Catherine and I are both very healthy.”

Pictured above in advance of last year’s race are jockeys Jamie Morris, Graham Atkinson from Cork and David O'Neill from Meath with James Nolan, visiting and inspecting the site for the new Renal Ward at Temple Street Children’s Hospital.