A FATIMA woman has spoken out about how a kidney transplant two years ago has given her “old life back”.
Mairead Casey (47) spoke about her life-changing transplant to help highlight National Transplant Week, which runs from 30 March to 6 April.
Mairead’s story starts back in the late ninties, when she slowly became ill over a period of time before presenting to her doctor, who identified that her kidneys was not functioning normally.
“It was back in 2000, I wasn’t feeling all that bad. I never complained about it, but blood tests showed that there was a problem.
“It was a terrible shock to be told your kidneys are failing, especially as I hadn’t been feeling particuarly poorly.”
Mairead managed to stave off dialysis for a number of years, yet ulimately when her kidneys failed she began the arduous and energy sapping dialysis treatement.
“It was very difficult. You’d feel very sick after the treatment. And you’d have no energy, I just wanted to go home and sleep.”
Mairead has three children, aged 24, 19 and 14. Her youngest child, Aaron was only eight years old when she commenced her treatment which for the first few months was carried out at the Mater Hospital and then Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.
This involved leaving her home early three days a week in the morning before her children left for school for three hours’ dialysis treatment. Her oldest child Charlene became was a great support and looked after her two younger brothers getting them up and ready for school and cooking meals for them. Mairead would return home at around 1pm on these days and would go to bed completely exhausted and be woken by her children at around 9pm before they went to bed. She had no quality of life.
Until she got the call that changed her life in March, 2011.
“It was 2.31am in the morning when we got the call. I literally threw some clothes into a bag and went straight to Beaumont. There was excitement and fear. I thought I was in a dream.”
Mairead was prepped for the operation, and everything went well.
“Its effect was very quick, I felt so much better in a just a matter of days. Words can’t express the difference my kidney transplant has made to me. I feel like I have a new lease of life, like I have my old life back.”
She will be forever grateful to her donor and has written a letter to her donor family thanking them for their selfless decision to donate at a time of great sadness.
“I’d like to thanks the staff at Daisy Hill, and at the Mater and the Beaumont for their work over the last number of years. The doctors, nurses and staff have been unbelieveable.”
Mairead’s story is one that can only be replicated by people who are prepared donate organs. There are currently over 600 people in Ireland awaiting life saving organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas. The focus of Organ Donor Awareness Week is to raise awareness about the ongoing and ever increasing demand for organ donation and transplantation, and to seek support from the public to make an informed decision to carry an organ donor card.
Organ Donor Awareness Week also serves as a fundraising exercise for the Irish Kidney Association. Throughout the Week ( 30th March- 6th April, 2013), the Association’s volunteers will be out on the streets, and in shopping centres throughout the country, selling ‘forget me not flower’ emblems (the symbol of transplantation), brooches, pens and shopping trolley discs. All proceeds will go towards the Irish Kidney Association’s aid for patients on dialysis and those patients fortunate enough to have received a kidney transplant. The programme includes the management of a 10 double room facility providing free accommodation for patients and their families in the grounds of Beaumont Hospital and holiday centres located in Tramore and Kerry, together with patient advocacy, advice, financial aid and rehabilitative work placement, health promotion and the provision of kidney patient information and education.
Free information factfiles, which accompany organ donor cards, are obtainable from the Irish Kidney Association and are available nationwide from pharmacies, GP surgeries and Citizen Information Offices. Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association. LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website www.ika.ie