Brendan McLaughlin was 'an inspiration to so many people in low places and a challenge to so many in high places'

Mourners told how Donegal transplant survivor gave hope and encouragement to many

Staff Reporter


Staff Reporter

Donegal health campaigner calls for new CF drug

Brendan McLaughlin.

Transplant survivor Brendan McLaughlin was an inspiration who gave hope and encouragement to many, mourners at his funeral have heard.

Brendan, who was Ireland’s longest-surviving lung transplant patient, passed away on Monday at the Mater Hospital in Dublin.

The Stranorlar man had a lung transplant in 1992 and received a new kidney nine years later.

He was a well-known campaigner on health issues and championed the cause of fellow cystic fibrosis patients.

Mourners at the Church of Mary Immaculate, Stranorlar heard that Brendan had lived his 51 years to the full.

Fr Kieran McAteer told mourners that Brendan had lived with cystic fibrosis all his life and he worked in “no small way to put it up there on the map”.

“It was no ordinary life. Brendan talked the talk but he did so because he walked the walk,” he said.

Amazing relationship

The offertory gifts included a copy of Brendan’s book, A Will to Survive, and a photograph of him with his late mother Frances.

Fr McAteer paid tribute to Brendan’s family, his partner Martina and especially his mother “who was with him every step of his journey”.

Brendan and Frances had an amazing relationship, he said. “It’s amazing how close people get when they spend years in the trenches together.”

Brendan became an inspiration to so many people, especially those living with cystic fibrosis.

“In 1992 when Anthony Molloy was bringing Sam back to the hills for the first time to give the people of the county a lift, Brendan McLaughlin was bringing a new lung back from Newcastle to give him 27 more years of living.”

In the following 27 years, Brendan gave hope and encouragement to people “from the voice of experience - he had been there, done that and he was still living to tell the story”.

Helping others was his vocation

Fr McAteer said Brendan saw helping other people with cystic fibrosis as his job and his vocation in life.

“Brendan wasn’t struggling just to keep himself alive, he was struggling to keep everybody alive.”

Brendan regularly wrote letters to the health minister of the day and took to the airwaves to raise issues.

“He had no fear whether it was writing letters or being on radio. There was a battle to be fought and he was up for it. In a world of bluff and spin, Brendan McLaughlin was real. Health ministers now and in the future will sleep sounder in their beds now that Brendan is gone. And more’s the pity.”

Brendan did not know what the word failure meant, Fr McAteer said.

“His body may have been wrecked, but his spirit was unquenchable. And that spirit was an inspiration to so many people in low places and a challenge to so many in high places.”

Brendan’s sense of humour and wit was a great help to him, he said.

“He certainly fought the good fight to the end and he did so with a sense of humor intact.”

Brendan is survived by his partner Martina, his father Seamus, sister Frances, brothers Gerard, Seamus, and Kevin. He was predeceased by his sister  Martina.