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Organ donors giving the gift of life

MEMBERS and volunteers from the Clare Branch of the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) are promotion donor cards and fundraising at locations throughout the county this week.

They focused on Ennis, Newmarket-on-Fergus and Tulla over the weekend  and will head to Killaloe on this Thursday and Kilrush and Shannon on Saturday.

The focus of the campaign is to promote awareness of the need for organ donation during National Organ Donor Awareness Week.

The week was officially launched at an information meeting in the Temple Gate Hotel, Ennis last week.
The speakers included Professor Austin Stack, consultant nephrologist at University Hospital, Limerick (UHL); Libby Sweeney, pharmacist at UHL and Mike Kelly, coordinator of counselling services at Donor House.

Currently, there are 36 Clare patients receiving life-saving haemodialysis treatment at the dialysis unit in UHL, the Fresenius unit at Riverside Park and Unit 7, Merlin Park.

There are also seven Clare patients on the home dialysis programme and on the more recent treatment now available in the UHL – home haemodialysis.

At present, 700 people in Ireland are on the active list for a transplant and a number of these patients are from the Mid-West area. Up to 3,000 people throughout the country have benefited from organ donation.

In 2014, 44 liver transplants, 18 heart transplants and 31 lung transplants were carried out, while 152 people received kidney transplants at Beaumont Hospital, 40 of which were from living donors and 112 from deceased donors.

Clare IKA branch secretary, Peggy Eustace described donor families as “unsung heroes”, who give hope to people who are awaiting a lifesaving transplant.

“These successful transplants could not have being carried out but for the generosity of the donor families, who at a very difficult time for themselves have shown great compassion to those who are so gravely ill. So many lives have been saved and indeed transformed thanks to their generosity of spirit.”
The branch is appealing for more volunteers to help it during the campaign and anyone who can volunteer can contact 087 9849004.

The organ donor card can be obtained by free texting the word DONOR to 50050, at a local pharmacy or doctors’ surgery. A free organ donor ECARD can be downloaded on a smartphone.

By Dan Danaher

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