Thursday, April 05, 2018

James and Catherine highlight Organ Donor Awareness

Local businessman James Nolan and his sister Catherine Doyle were among a number of people participating in a special RTE 'Nationwide' programme on organ donors last night, writes Brian Byrne.

The programme was highlighting Organ Donor Awareness Week, which began last Saturday. Thirty-one years ago, James was donated a kidney by Catherine when she was found to be the best match in the family.

"She gave me the best gift possible, the gift of life," James said during the programme, where he also spoke about the Nurses Station in the new Renal Ward in Temple Street Children's Hospital, which was sponsored by the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund that he founded.

Living donor operations are now taking place routinely once a week in Beaumont Hospital. Viewers heard that such transplants are around 95pc successful, substantially higher than donors from deceased people.

Currently, there are in excess of 500 people waiting for a kidney transplant and between 140 and 170 transplants are performed annually.

In general, kidney transplantation results in more than doubling of life expectancy, when compared to remaining on dialysis.

The average wait in Ireland, at present, for a deceased donor transplant  is about three years. A live donor transplant can be organised within a number of months if there is a suitable willing donor.

Meanwhile, local TD Martin Heydon has added his own appeal for people to carry organ donor cards.

Deputy Heydon, who unexpectedly lost a kidney himself when he was 18 emphasised the importance of raising awareness of organ donation.

"Organ Donor Awareness Week is a great time to highlight how organ donation can save lives. The Irish Kidney Association says that almost 3,500 transplanted people in Ireland are enjoying extended life thanks to organ donation.

“I encourage everyone to get an Organ Donor Card if they don’t already have one."