Mary Kennedy appeals to public to sign up as organ donors

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has pleaded with the public to sign up as organ donors after witnessing at first hand the heartbreak and miraculous recoveries involved.

Mary Kennedy appeals to public to sign up as organ donors

The RTÉ star issued the call after confirming she is taking up a voluntary ambassador’s role for the Irish Kidney Association’s annual Organ Donor Awareness campaign.

The week-long initiative, from March 29 to April 5, marks the 50th anniversary of the first organ transplant in this country in 1964.

Ms Kennedy said her own experiences have given her a glimpse of the tragedies and benefits both sides of the treatment can bring.

“Most people have been touched by organ donation in some way, and I have seen it from both sides,” said the Nationwide presenter.

“My late uncle Tom White, who was like a second father to me, sadly passed away in 2002 having been on dialysis for many years with kidney failure.

“And I am deeply aware that the heartache experienced by my dear friends Martina and Denis Goggin, when their only son Éamonn tragically died in 2006, was tempered with the great consolation that the lives of four people were saved through honouring their son’s wish that his organs be donated.

“Two other families I know personally have greatly benefited from the gift of organ donation.

“The tremendous gift of organ donation touches so many people, including the extended family and friends of people who have received life-saving transplants.”

Despite a surge in organ donations, more than 600 people are still on heart, lung, liver, kidney, and pancreas waiting lists.

* For information on the campaign see www.ika.ie. For information on donor cards, lo-call 1890 543 639.

Tributes

Two families have paid tribute to young organ donors whose gestures saved their children’s lives, saying while they have never met them “they will forever be a part of our family”.

Amanda Howard and Rose Marie Cole, from Cloonfad in Co Roscommon and Rathfarnham in Dublin City, made the heartfelt thank you in a bid to highlight the real-life miracles the operations can bring.

Rose Marie said that her daughter, Ellie, received a liver transplant at just 16 months old that effectively saved her life.

“The joy for our family was tinged with sadness for the family who made the selfless decision to donate their baby’s organs so Ellie’s and others lives could be saved.

“Ellie is now a typical nine-year-oldgirl and adores One Direction.

“Today, she celebrates her ninth birthday and it’s thanks to her donor’s family that she has reached this landmark.”

Amanda Howard gave a near identical message of gratitude after her baby son, Jack, was also saved by a kidney transplant.

“I sent an anonymous letter to the donor family through the donor co-ordinator before Christmas and it was the hardest letter I ever wrote.

“It is so difficult to put into words our immense gratitude and, although we will never meet the donor family, they will forever be a part of ours,” she said.

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