Family’s tribute to donors after 7 kidney transplants

It was an extra special moment for Síle Murphy and her family when they appeared together on RTÉ’s Late Late Show last night.

Family’s tribute to donors after 7 kidney transplants

Over the last 30 years, members of the Waterford family have undergone seven kidney transplants, including five from deceased organ donors.

“It is because of the organ donors and medical advances that I still have all my family around me,” said Síle, a retired school principal from Kilrossanty, Dungarvan.

“We benefited from all those people who lost members of their family. We haven’t lost anybody.”

Her husband Seán and three of their four children have a rare hereditary kidney condition known as membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN).

Last September, the couple’s only daughter, Lia Murphy, a producer at Today FM, gave birth to a baby boy, Colm Patrick Rooney.

The birth was a particular cause for celebration as Lia had undergone a deceased kidney transplant in 2011.

Síle believes she would have been left a widow with just one child but for the fact that other families found it in their hearts to say yes to organ donation.

“My husband is still alive and we have grandchildren. That is all down to the organ donors. An organ donor gives more than life to one person — it has a ripple effect,” added Síle, who said last Christmas was the first in a decade that no family member was undergoing dialysis treatment.

Her son Bob, 41, the recipient of three kidney transplants, was one of the first children in Ireland to receive dialysis treatment at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin, Dublin.

He suffered a stroke at a young age and later had two heart attacks.

In 1984, when Bob was 10 years old, he received his first transplant from his father. At the time it was not known that four members of the family, including Seán, had MPGN.

The transplant was successful and the kidney lasted for six years before Bob had to go back on dialysis.

In 1997, Bob received a deceased donor transplant but that eventually failed and he had been undergoing dialysis treatment for almost three years when he got married in January last year.

Bob’s most recent heart attack in July last year happened just a week before he and his brother Mahon were due to undergo a living donor kidney transplant at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

Mahon completed his Phd in history two days before the successful brother-to- brother living donor kidney transplant went ahead in November.

During the same year their aunt, Nuala Dunford (Seán’s sister) received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor.

Jack Murphy, producer of RTÉ’s 2FM Ryan Tubridy radio show and the oldest of the siblings, received a kidney transplant eight years ago.

His father Seán received a kidney transplant 11 years ago.

Transplant surgeon David Hickey, who conducted Bob and Seán’s operations 30 years ago, also performed the living donor kidney transplant between Bob and Mahon.

After the events of last year, Mr Hickey declared: “Ye have just played in the World Cup and won!”

Organ Donor Awareness Week was held last week to encourage the public to support organ donation. Further details on www.ika.ie.

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