Organ donation and transplantation save the lives of between 200 and 250 people in Ireland every year and has been described as the ultimate act of love and an immeasurable gift of life.
It is estimated that there are up to 700 people awaiting transplants in any given year in Ireland and this closely knit community are all united through pain and suffering which however is characterised by courage, hope, generosity, love and a positive attitude to life.
By becoming an organ or a tissue donor one person can save the lives of up to five people who are in end-stage organ failure and facing almost certain death.
Most people associate organ donation with tragedy and regrettably this is true in many cases where organs are donated as a result of a tragic accident. However in recent years a Living Donor programme where people can donate an organ and continue to lead perfectly healthy lives.
This weekend sees the commencement of Organ Donor Awareness week (April 2-9) and throughout the week members of the Irish Kidney Association will be out on the streets selling ‘forget-me-not’ emblems and various other symbols of transplantation in an attempt to raise much needed funds but also to raise the awareness of organ donation.
RTE’s Joe Duffy who has thrown his weight behind the awareness campaign said: “Many of us have known someone who has experienced organ failure. In many cases their only chance of survival is a life saving transplant.
“It is thanks to the generosity of deceased donors and their families consent to donate their loved ones organs that almost 2400 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life as a result of receiving organ transplants. The legacy of organ donation for transplantation is immeasurable. I would encourage everyone to carry an organ donor card”.
In the last week the Donegal Democrat has spoken to three different people who have suffered from kidney failure and have experienced life threatening situations.
All their stories are different but they all share one common thread - their sheer courage and positivity and the gratitude they all share for those people who made the ultimate sacrifice in providing them with the gift of life.
For their stories, please turn to page 12.