A FORMER rugby international who went under the knife with his wife to receive a life-saving kidney, has appealed to the public to carry donor cards.
Richard Costello, a giant of a man at 6ft 7in, was brought down to earth with a bang in 2010, when during a routine hospital check-up, he learnt his two kidneys were in failure.
Despite appearing fit and healthy, the sports-mad Limerick native had been hit by lethargy and headaches, which prompted his hospital appointment.
However, his wife Anna donated one of her kidneys. "She's fantastic," said the former Garryowen and Ireland star.
"I was on dialysis for two years and it was looking fairly gloomy. And now, I'm totally transformed. I've got a second chance, and only for my wife I wouldn't be in this situation."
The successful transplant operation was carried out on July 24 last year, seven months after the couple were left devastated when a first attempt at the operation had to be cancelled at the last minute.
The couple, who run the Locke Pub and Oyster House restaurant in Limerick, have now appealed to people to be aware of the importance of becoming an organ donor.
Only minutes after coming out of surgery, Richard said he felt like a new man. He said that "donor cards can give someone a second chance at life".
Anna added: "The big thing is to impress to people that they carry a donor card, and discuss it with your family. That's the problem, people don't discuss it with their nearest and dearest."