Longford musician donates kidney to his girlfriend

Longford's Tommy Flaherty donated a kidney to his girlfriend, Madonna Shaughnessy.
Longford musician Tommy Flaherty gave ‘The Gift of Life’ to his girlfriend Madonna Shaughnessy by donating one of his kidneys to her.

Longford musician Tommy Flaherty gave ‘The Gift of Life’ to his girlfriend Madonna Shaughnessy by donating one of his kidneys to her.

Madonna and three other members of her family experienced kidney failure and Tommy donated a kidney to her at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham in January 2011.

Tommy told the Longford Leader this week, “While on a hospital visit with Madonna I picked up a leaflet called ‘The Living Donor Programme’ and it all started from there. Madonna had been waiting two years on the transplant list and thankfully the operation was a success.”

Sadly Madonna’s father and brother, who suffered from the same rare kidney condition, died but fortunately another one of her brothers received a successful transplant.

Tommy explained, “Between Ireland and England at least five people a day, waiting on the transplant list die. I felt I had to do something to help.”

One morning at 3am, when he couldn’t sleep, Tommy took pen to paper and he wrote a song, aptly entitled ‘The Gift of Life’.

“I brought the song about organ donation to Paul Gurney who in turn gave it to Charlie McGettigan. I wasn’t expecting to hear back from Paul so soon but Charlie liked the song. A few changes were made and here we are today. Between us we have made it happen.”

They’ve donated the song to the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) to help raise funds. “I believe it is going to be used in the Organ Donor Awareness campaign and I couldn’t be happier to bring some focus on such a worthy cause,” explained Tommy.

Organ Donor Awareness Week, which is organised by the IKA, runs from Saturday, March 29 until Saturday, April 5 and it is being launched this morning (Wednesday, March 26) in the Mansion House, Dublin by Health Minister Dr James Reilly. Tommy, Charlie and Paul are also due to attend the launch.

RTÉ presenter Mary Kennedy recently became Ambassador for Organ Donor Awareness Week and on Thursday, April 3, IKA volunteers will be distributing organ donor cards and selling forget-me-not flowers throughout Longford.

Details on when the song ‘The Gift of Life’ will be released and how it will be distributed will be be announced shortly by the IKA. Organ Donor Cards can be obtained from Irish Kidney Association, LoCall 1890 543639, freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit the website at www.ika.ie

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