Incredible kidney donor couple are the ultimate Valentine's Day match

Carlingford man

David Lynch


David Lynch


Incredible kidney donor couple are the ultimate Valentine's Day match

Brendan 'Jack' Shiels, from Carlingford and his wife Breda

While many loving couples were busy exchanging gifts of flowers and chocolates on Valentine's Day, for one particular couple, one gift meant more than any other.

Speaking on Friday, 62-year-old Brendan 'Jack' Shiels, originally from Carlingford here in Louth, explains how he has now "won the lottery three times" in his life. 

The first time he hit the jackpot was when he met his wife Breda many years back, he says, while the second time was when he was lucky enough to receive a vital kidney donation just over 30 years back.

Back then Brendan first realised he had a problem with his kidneys when he suffered renal failure and collapsed while in New York. It turned out he had a previously undiagnosed condition were his kidneys had stopped growing when he was a child.

Back in the 1980s, when he first got his kidney, he was told he might get ten years out of it. Instead he got 31.  

And now the third time he has hit lucky, Brendan says, was just last Monday.  

His loving wife Breda (60) had already decided to donate one of her own kidneys to the Irish Kidney Association, however, at the same time, Brendan's previous kidney was starting to fail him.

Knowing the situation, Breda was still going to go ahead and donate hers, but not necessarily to Brendan.   

However, after a series of tests, it was found that she was the perfect match for Brendan. And so, an operation was scheduled as soon as possible.

On Monday that operation happened and after three hours of surgery, both emerged successfully.

While Breda recovered quicker, and was told she could go home on Wednesday, she requested to stay on in the Belfast hospital and wait for her husband to be discharged, so they could leave together.

Brendan and Breda are both recovering well and returned to their Belfast home on Valentines Day to continue their recovery.

Brendan's sisters Anne, Roisin and Mary, from Carlingford, are delighted to have them both home and would like to thank all the staff at Belfast City Hospital for their excellent care.