Perfect match: Wife donates kidney to ex-rugby star

In October 2012, RTÉ pundit Brolly donated his kidney to Shane Finnegan.

Former rugby international, Richard Costello has his wife Anna to thank for a life-changing medical match.

Richard, a father of five who was capped for Ireland and played club rugby for Garryowen, went for a check-up in Feb 2011 with suspected high blood pressure and headache.

He was found to be suffering chronic kidney failure. Shortly afterwards, he started dialysis. This meant spending four hours every second day attached to a dialysis machine.

However, new hope emerged when tests found that Anna was a donor for a kidney transplant, and the procedure went ahead at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin eight months ago.

Now he is back living his normal life.

Anna said: “Donation was something I knew nothing about, but it was something we had to learn fairly quickly after Richard became unwell.”

She said they never considered allowing any of their children as donors.

“I just felt they were too young. Besides it was not conclusive how his kidneys failed and I was afraid there might be something genetic. So I went forward myself and had a load of tests, health and psychological, a complete MOT over 12 months.”

Anna recalled: “When we were reunited after the surgery we didn’t say much really, we were just there crying, but I did notice Richard’s colour was back.”

“It’s a huge thing for a family to have to deal with and it was surreal at first but it’s amazing what you can get used to. It happens and you have to get on with it. If we didn’t, Richard might not have lived.”

According to the Irish Kidney Association, the Costellos were among five couples who underwent spouse-to-spouse kidney transplants last year.


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