PEOPLE are being encouraged to give a gift of life and carry a donor card as Organ Donor Awareness week kicks off in Offaly.
The national awareness week, began last Saturday and continues until April 7, and will see Irish Kidney Association [IKA] volunteer collectors distribute organ donor cards and selling forget-me emblems throughout the county.
Launching the Offaly branch’s campaign, Cllr Sinead Dooley, an Chathaoirleach of Tullamore Town Council, said she was humbled and privileged to be asked to officiate the life saving awareness campaign last week.
She explained how she herself knew people with organ failure and recalled when, in her teens, a friend’s brother tragically passed away and his family made the selfless decision to donate his organs.
The town councillor encouraged people to support the awareness week by having a discussion with their loved ones about organ donation and give the ‘gift of life’ in the event of untimely death.
Mike Kelly, Co-orindator of Counselling Services, IKA, gave a short presentation for kidney patients about understanding and dealing with depression, which is experienced by some people with organ failure.
There are currently 105 patients from Longford, Laois, Offaly and Westmeath receiving treatment at the new dialysis unit at the Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore and its Consultant Nephrologist, Frank Kelly, discussed ways to manage the increasing number of midland dialysis patients in the future.
The consultant also endorsed the development of a new form of home dialysis, home haemodialysis, for certain patients, and they could be fully trained within a two month period using the hospital’s current manpower. He also suggested the development of the old dialysis facility for this purpose.
Jerome Burke, Chairperson of the Offaly Branch of IKA, thanked everyone for attending the event and later presented certificates for outstanding achievement awards to Portarlington Credit Union and Portarlington Lions Club in recognition for their outstanding support of the IKA in Offaly throughout the years.
People are asked to support the IKA’s fundraising drive by buying a forget-me-not and for further information on organ donor cards, services, or making a donation, visit www.ika.ie
See this Tuesday’s Offaly Express for photographic coverage from the Offaly Launch of the IKA Organ Donor Awareness Week. On sale now.