Sunday 25 September 2016

Irish man’s life is saved by stranger he met at the bog: ‘It was a huge and selfless decision for him’

Published 06/04/2016 | 11:42

Martin Byrne (left) who received a kidney from his dear friend Seamus
Martin Byrne (left) who received a kidney from his dear friend Seamus

A friendship which blossomed footing turf in a midlands bog proved life-altering for an Irish farmer, who was the grateful recipient of a kidney donated to him by a generous friend.

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Martin Byrne (55) thanked his dear friend Seamus Molloy (53) for donating the kidney which saved his life.

The pair first met four years ago while working at a bog in Westmeath but when Seamus discovered Martin’s kidneys had failed, he generously decided to donate an organ when upon recognising that he was a viable match.

The lorry driver and father of five underwent rigorous psychological and physical screening before he was allowed to donate a kidney to his friend.

Seamus revealed that donating a kidney to Martin was a no-brainer, and he wanted to help his pal continue to be there for his children who had already lost their mother.

 “Giving a kidney wasn’t a difficult decision for me to make and I think more people should consider doing it,” said Seamus.

“I could not sit back when I knew I could help alleviate some of the struggle for Martin and his family. I remember after discussing it with my wife first phoning Martin to see if our blood types matched as I wanted to donate a kidney. Both of us knew our blood types as we had both donated blood down through the years. Once we established that we had the same blood type, I contacted Beaumont Hospital to find out more about becoming a kidney donor.

“I feel we were very lucky to have been a suitable match for the transplant and I would encourage other people to consider organ donation and talk about it with their family. Martin is living proof of the success of organ donation and he has got his health and quality of life back."

Martin, a widower and father-of-two, revealed he can never thank Seamus for giving him the gift of life.

“It is difficult to express my immense gratitude to Seamus for coming forward and offering to donate one of his kidneys to me. It was a huge and selfless decision for him and his wife Imelda to make. I would like to give something back now and I hope by sharing my story it will help to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.

“My father and grandfather also had kidney disease and my brother Anthony who lives nearby has been receiving dialysis treatment for 11 years.  Two of my cousins underwent a living donor kidney transplant. Thanks to Seamus donating a kidney I have got my health back and have much more energy.  I am now back working on the farm full-time while caring for my two teenage sons. My eldest son Conor is doing his Leaving Cert this year.

“I would like to thank the staff at Beaumont Hospital as well as my consultant Mr. Bergin and his team at Tullamore Hospital for the wonderful care they have provided. I would also like to acknowledge the support I received from my family, friends and neighbours over the past few years who helped me through the difficult and sad times,” he said.

Organ Donor Awareness Week 2016, which is organised by the Irish Kidney Association, will take place from 2nd – 9th April

Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association  LoCall 1890 543639 orFreetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit website www.ika.ie

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