Organ Donor Awareness Week to be launched in Offaly

Justin Kelly

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Justin Kelly

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justin.kelly@iconicnews.ie

Organ donation awareness week to take place next month

The Irish Kidney Association’s Organ Donor Awareness Week 2017 will take place from April 1-8, 2017, and the Offaly launch of the event will take place at the Tullamore Court Hotel tonight, Thursday, March 30, at 8pm. Mr. Eddie Fitzpatrick, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council will be on hand to officially launch Organ Donor Awareness Week.

The key focus of the campaign is to continue to remind the Irish public to have the important family discussion about their wishes concerning deceased organ donation and support the Irish Kidney Association by buying a 'forget-me-not' flower and other merchandise, while its volunteers distribute the organ donor cards.

SEE ALSO: Local man risked his own life to save brother with transplant 

The annual life-saving awareness campaign aims to highlight the ongoing and ever increasing demand for organ transplantation which relies on the public for organ donation. Its key message is that families need to discuss organ donation and keep the reminders of their willingness to donate visible by carrying the organ donor card, downloading the Smartphone App and permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s license.

SEE ALSO: Mother makes desperate donor appeal for dying Offaly boy

For the second year, living Kidney donor and RTÉ broadcaster Vivienne Traynor continues in her voluntary role of ambassador for Organ Donor Awareness Week which is organised by the Irish Kidney Association. Vivienne attended the national launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2017 by the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, at the Mansion House on Tuesday, March 28.

Vivienne, the RTÉ News Anchor and Courts Correspondent has a deep personal connection to organ donation. Vivienne’s nephew Martin Traynor (36) from Skerries, Dublin underwent two kidney transplants, his first for which she was the living kidney donor, and five years later, in November 2014, his second transplant was from a deceased donor.

Martin and his partner Mary are now expecting the birth of their third child since he received his kidney transplants.  Just last September another relation of theirs, Michaela Delany, aged 17 from Clondalkin, underwent a second transplant, this time from her kidney donor mother Liz. She had her first kidney transplant when she was just two years old thanks to a deceased organ donor. 

Vivienne said of her ambassadorship, "I am delighted to have been invited by the Irish Kidney Association to continue as ambassador for Donor Awareness Week for a second year and I hope that my family’s personal stories of donation and transplantation can help other families to start the conversation about their wishes surrounding deceased organ donation."

The 2017 campaign will feature Vivienne Traynor in radio advertising as well as on posters, encouraging the public to support organ donation.

There are approximately 600 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.

In 2016, 280 organs transplants were carried out in Ireland. 230 were as a result of the generosity of the families of 77 deceased donors and the remaining 50 were from living kidney donors.  A further 9 specialist kidney transplants were performed on Irish HSE patients in the UK which included 7 extra living donors who travelled, with the recipients, to the UK for the operations.

St. Vincent’s University Hospital conducted 58 liver transplants in 2016. The Mater Hospital conducted 35 lung transplants as well as 15 heart transplants in 2016. Beaumont Hospital carried out 172 kidney transplants including a record 50 from living donors.

There are over 4,450 people in Ireland being treated for kidney failure, with 2,075 (47%) undergoing dialysis treatment and, thanks to the gift of organ donation, 2,379 (53%) people are enjoying extended life from a kidney transplant.

Organ Donor Awareness Week also serves as a fundraising exercise for the Irish Kidney Association. Throughout the week, the Association’s volunteers will be out on the streets, and in shopping centres throughout the country, selling 'forget-me-not-flower' emblems, 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 Irish Kidney Association’s charitable activities include the provision of a 13 double bedroom free accommodation facility 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, health promotion through sport and the provision of kidney patient information and education.

The Irish Kidney Association is the national organisation charged with the promotion and distribution of the organ donor card in Ireland, on behalf of Organ Donation Transplant Ireland.

Free information fact files, which accompany organ donor cards, are obtainable from the Irish Kidney Association and are available nationwide from pharmacies, GP surgeries and Citizen Information Offices, etc.

Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on LoCall 1890 543639 or sending a free text containing the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie.

It is now possible to store an organ donor card, the ‘ecard’ on Smart mobile phones. Simply search for ‘Donor ECard’ at the iPhone Store or Android Market Place.

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