JACK O’Brien was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2003 when he was just six weeks old.
But after a successful kidney transplant – his mother Cassandra donated her own kidney – he’s now a healthy and active 10-year-old boy.
And as Temple Street Children’s University Hospital marks 10 years of performing life-changing kidney transplants, Cassandra is eternally
grateful for all the hospital did for herself and Jack.
Jack is the youngest child to have a transplant in Temple Street since the service began, and was just six weeks old when he was brought to hospital.
“We brought Jack to our GP on New Year’s Eve in 2002 and they told us to bring him straight to Crumlin Hospital,” Cassandra told the Herald. Jack was diagnosed with chronic nephritis, a kidney inflammation leading to kidney failure.
“It’s so hard to imagine being in that situation, it’s never something you expect. You don’t really think about things like that when you’re having a child. It’s tough but you just get on with it.”
Jack was just two months old when he had his first kidney removed. His second kidney was removed two months later. He spent up to 13 hours a day on dialysis before being placed on the transplant list in the summer of 2004.
“It was all about waiting, and worrying, and you’re really waiting for somebody else to die,” Cassandra said. “At the time there was no transplant programme in Ireland for living donors, but my neighbour saw a programme on television in the UK, so we spoke to a consultant.”
And after speaking to the hospital, they were given the go ahead to proceed, with Cassandra being the closer match than Jack’s dad, Wayne, after tests.
This was in 2005 and little Jack was just two years of age. “Just 50 minutes after they removed my kidney, it was in Jack, it was incredible.
“I was out of hospital after about a week but Jack stayed in for about six weeks before he was released.”