Teresa Doyle from Prospect Wood in Longford gave birth to her daughter Laura in early 2007, but when Laura was just four days old; her mother noticed that there was something wrong. Teresa took her baby to two doctors who assured her that Laura was fine, but Teresa knew better.
“I had seven other children, so I knew myself. My instincts were telling me that she was sick.”
Teresa took her daughter to the Midlands Regional Hospital, Mullingar and was then rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin. Laura was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that dramatically affects kidney function. She spent years in and out of Crumlin, and it was a very tough time for the whole family.
Teresa explained that she would bring her daughter up for a hospital appointment, only to be told that Laura would have to be kept in for days or weeks at a time. They often didn’t have time to prepare or pack.
Laura spent a year and a half on dialysis in Temple Street Children’s Hospital, and she was placed on the transplant list.
In the 48 years of kidney transplant in Ireland a total of 3,918 operations have been carried out.
Last November, a year after Laura’s name went on the list, the family got the life-changing phone call to say that Laura was to receive a kidney.
“When we got the call it was a dream come true.” Teresa admits. “It was like winning the lottery.”
The surgery was successfully carried out by Doctor David Hickey in November 2012, and Laura, who recently turned six, has now started national school. Teresa says that the differences she has noticed in her daughter are unbelievable, and has emphasised how important it is for people to carry organ donor cards.
Teresa and some of her relatives are planning on taking part in a marathon in Dublin this June to raise funds for the Irish Kidney Association, as Teresa wants to give something back.
“We are very happy with everyone in Temple Street and Crumlin and Doctor Hickey.”
In order to support people like the Doyle family, the Irish Kidney Association was formed in 1978, and today has 25 branches nationwide.
Chairperson of the Longford branch of the Irish Kidney Association (IKA), Bernadette Wall, is quick to point out the importance of organ donation, and the profound impact it has on the recipient’s life. Carrying an organ donor card, and discussing the subject with family is hugely important, as it can and has saved lives.
Bernadette is also keen to praise the tremendous work carried out by the Irish Kidney Association, and the initiatives and services they have in place to make things easier for patients and their families.
However, she also recognises the contribution of the public. Proceeds from the Longford Shane Brennan Road Race 2012 went to the Irish Kidney Association; the association have annual church gate and Organ Donation Week collections, all of which have been hugely successful. Bernadette was delighted and grateful for the funds raised, saying: “We really appreciate the people of Longford being so generous for such a worthy cause.”
Organ Donor Awareness week is taking place this year from Saturday March 30 to Saturday April 6, during which, fundraisers will take place all across the country to try and raise funds for a really worthy cause.
Collections will take place in Longford town on April 4, and in other towns throughout the county such as Drumlish and Edgeworthstown on April 6.
The Longford Branch of the IKA is also planning their AGM for April 16 and all are welcome to attend. More information: www.ika