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Bridie Purcell pictured at her home in Barefield Ennis with a photograph of her late husband Buddy. Photograph Arthur Ellis.

Kidney donation provides some comfort after tragic death of Barefield man

A BAREFIELD mother has revealed how her family has gained some comfort following the sudden tragic death of her husband, after his two kidneys were donated to a mother of six children.

Bridie Purcell, of Ballyduff, Barefield, her son and three daughters were left devastated when Michael Purcell (67) died suddenly following an aneurysm in the brain on January 3, 2012.

Affectionately known as Buddy, the father-of-four was  sorting a bale of silage with his friend, John Whelan, when he collapsed suddenly.

Within an hour of babysitting her grandchildren, Bridie, who was 57 at the time, got a call to  leave the house, as Michael had been taken by ambulance.

“I met him on the side of the road in an ambulance. I knew when I got into the ambulance that his eyes were dilated. Technically, he was on life support until they decided he was going downhill.

“A team was waiting on standby at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin after his scan. The staff in University College Hospital, Galway were brilliant. If they thought there was anything they could have done for him, they would have flown him to Beaumont,” she said.

She decided to speak for the first time about the death of her husband to support the annual Organ Donor Awareness Week campaign, which runs from March 29 to April 5.

While Buddy was on life support, Bridie was asked would the family consider donating his organs. At the time, she was taken aback because he hated needles.
However, after discussing this issue as a family, his son and three daughters felt their father would love to donate his organs because he loved life.

They left the final decision up to their mother, who knew deep down that, if Buddy could have done anything to save a life, that is what he would have wanted.
The family also knew that Bridie’s sister, Mary, was on dialysis and they hoped his kidney would be compatible for her. However, unfortunately, this didn’t work out.

“We were told he was one of the healthiest men on life support because his organs were great.

“It gives you great strength to know he gave his organs to a mother. It is a comfort to know that, out of his death, his kidney has helped another family.

“Bud was a man of nature, who loved life. It was a hard decision to make because we had never discussed this. But when you read letters from the donor recipient, it is worth it and there is part of Bud around in another person,” said Bridie.

In a letter to the Purcell family, the mother of six children and 11 grandchildren said she had a new lease of life, thanks to their “precious gift”.

She revealed that her mother died from kidney disease, and that five of her seven children were diagnosed with the disease.
“My oldest brother got a kidney 12 years ago. When I got mine, it gave everyone  hope. Your family’s special gift to me seemed to change our luck,” the recipient stated.

A plasterer by trade, Mr Purcell, who had a suckler cow herd, loved nature and working outdoors.

When members of the Purcell family attended the special remembrance mass in Dublin last September, Bridie felt Bud’s presence. Looking around in the church, she wondered if the recipient who had his kidneys was also present.

About Colin McGann

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