Thursday 27 October 2016

‘I’d do anything to help him’ – Brave mother-of-two flies home to donate kidney to her baby brother

Geraldine Gittens

Published 05/09/2016 | 10:51

Maria Montgomery hugs her baby brother David. Photo: RTE/ Keeping Ireland Alive
Maria Montgomery hugs her baby brother David. Photo: RTE/ Keeping Ireland Alive

A 36-year-old mother of two flew into Ireland from her home in Scotland to donate a kidney to her younger brother last May.

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Maria Montgomery lives in Scotland with her husband and two children but came home to help her brother David O’Sullivan (35) from Tipperary.

“He’s my baby brother at the end of the day, even if he is only a year younger than me. I’ve never known life without him and I couldn’t imagine life without him,” she tells tonight's episode of RTE's Keeping Ireland Alive.

“It’s just right. It’s something I have to do.”

“At the end of the day, we just want David to have his life back and to have a better quality of life,” she said.

RTE was given "unprecedented access" to the Irish health service for filming, and 75 different crews were stationed throughout the country over a 24-hour period on May 21.

The series has been described as “a huge undertaking” which will prove to be a first for Irish TV.

Maria and David are in Beaumont Hospital preparing for their surgeries when the crews meet them.

“If you looked up ‘gentleman’ in the dictionary you would see probably a picture of my brother next to it... I’d do anything to help him,” Maria said.

“We just want to make him better.”

While David, whose kidney began to fail when he was 13, said his sister volunteered "from day one" to give him her kidney.

 “It was a matter of when rather than if I was going to get a transplant. My sister volunteered from day one. She pushed the process and speeded it up as quickly as she could.”

Keeping Ireland Alive: The health service in a day will air tonight on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.

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