SPORTS lover Alan Healy is giving up footballing weekends so he can give his mother Helena the gift of life.
The pair will travel to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin later this week where Alan will donate a kidney to his sick mother.
Trainee accountant Alan (26), who faces at least three months' recovery after the operation, said: "Once it was found that my kidneys were the closest match for my mother, I knew I was going to do it. Mum loves to go for walks and she was missing out on those because she was tired. She also wants to go swimming and running so she has to have a transplant."
Helena (50), who is chief executive officer at B&B Ireland, explained that her kidneys began to deteriorate in 1996 after taking medication for a minor complaint. With her kidneys functioning at 20pc she was able to live a normal life until 18 months ago when they started deteriorating further and she was put on dialysis.
Helena, who lives in Glencar, Co Leitrim, said: "The closer the match the longer the transplanted kidney will last, so Alan insisted on being the donor. I would much rather that I was a donor for my son.
"But Alan is very cool about it."
The transplant will mean that, for a while, Alan will give up his weekend five-a-side tournaments with friends at the local AstroTurf centre.
Doctors have told him he will live a completely normal life on one kidney and Alan thinks that is fine. He said: "I have one heart and one liver and I get along fine with those so why not one kidney?"
Both mother and son decided to speak out about next week's operation because they are keen to help promote the Irish Kidney Association's search for donors.
Anybody who wishes to be a donor can text 'donor' on their mobile phones to 50050 for an organ-donor card.
A recent high-profile kidney donor was Joe Brolly, the All-Ireland-winning Derry footballer and GAA analyst. He donated a kidney to his friend Shane Finnegan in London on October 3, but it had to be removed nine days later.