Local families help raise awareness of Organ Donation as part of World Kidney Day

26/03/2019

Local families help raise awareness of Organ Donation as part of World Kidney DayThree local families from the Western Trust area are helping to raise awareness of Organ Donation as part of World Kidney Day on 14 March 2019 organised by Renal Unit staff at the Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex. World Kidney Day is an annual event to raises awareness of the importance of good kidney health to slow down or prevent further damage to your kidneys. 
 
The Coyle family from Greencastle, Roisin, Conor and Seamus lost their grandmother when she was 56 years old and their mother when she was 48 years old to polycystic kidney disease. Out of the four siblings in the Coyle family, three have the hereditary condition. Roisin does not have the disease and so six years ago was able to donate one of her kidneys to her brother Conor. Only a few months before this, Seamus’ wife also donated a kidney through the paired exchange programme.
 
Roisin said: “Every New Year’s Day I organise a walk to the top of Bessy Bell. When I started this four years ago there were 20 people who came along to the walk. This year we had 243 people join us. There were kidney recipients, heart recipients, pancreas, liver and all sorts. The word has spread and we are raising more awareness about the importance of organ donation. We were overwhelmed this year by the massive turnout. It was great for the many people who were there for the walk but maybe not personally affected by organ donation, to see people who have been affected can make such a recovery.

Roisin continued: “As it has affected nearly everyone in our house we certainly encourage everyone to consider becoming an organ donor. Please do consider becoming an organ donor and talk to your family about your wishes.”

Leigh Lyons, who works in the Audiology Department at Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex, had a kidney and pancreas transplant four years ago. Leigh was on the transplant list for a year when she found out she was pregnant. Leigh had hoped that she would receive her transplant before dialysis was needed, however,  she required dialysis daily for four hours throughout her pregnancy. Her daughter was delivered early due to complications. Leigh who is from Sixmilecross now has a healthy four year old daughter Leyla, little sister to ten year old Calvin.

Leigh said: “Organ donation is a difficult subject for most families to talk about, but certainly if you can squeeze in that discussion at some stage it’s well worth it. I have been in touch with my donor’s family and they find it so amazing to hear about the things I can do which is a great comfort to them.”
 
Pauline McManus from Dromore is married to Martin and has a son Shane and daughter Naomi. Pauline lost her mother Patricia Campbell in 2011 aged 59 years. Patricia had polycystic kidney disease and was on dialysis for 13 years. Out of four siblings (three brothers) Pauline has the hereditary condition and in November 2017 became very unwell and needed a kidney transplant.  Pauline’s brother Barry went to get tested and found out the wonderful news that they were 100% match and underwent the transplant in 19 June 2018.  Pauline expressed her gratitude to her brother: “I am extremely grateful and proud of Barry who made the brave decision to get tested as a live donor – he didn’t just give me a kidney he gave me the gift of life.”
 
Both Pauline and Barry are keeping well and looking forward to a healthy and happy life. Pauline said: “It is so important that people talk openly about organ donation and particularly live donors. My wish would have been that my mum would have had the chance of a transplant and I hope raising awareness of organ donation will help others in a similar situation.”
 
Sr Joyce Leary, Renal Unit presented Pauline McManus, Roisin Hood (nee Coyle) and Leigh Lyons with a book called “The Belfast Recipe - celebrating 50 years of Renal Service in Northern Ireland”. Sr Joyce Leary and Dr Peter Garrett, retired Renal Consultant from Tyrone County Hospital contributed to the book which has been recently published to celebrate 50 years since the opening of the first ever renal unit in Northern Ireland in 1968.
 
There are many ways to register as a potential donor: