Health

Monday 28 July 2014

'He told us he wanted to change someone's life for the better'

Liam's girlfriend Louise Galvin. Photo: Sean Curtin
Alan Feeley

One person who changed five people's lives was 28-year-old Alan Feeley a PE teacher who died tragically after suffering a brain haemorrhage in November last year.

After Alan's death, the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) reported an eight to 10-fold increase in the requests for donor cards via their Freetext service. His girlfriend Louise Galvin and brother Liam Feeley both urge anyone thinking about getting a donor card to talk to their families about it.

"We actually would have spoken about it once last year," says Louise. "I work with CF patients and one person had a transplant and he thought it was great that a person's life could be changed. He wanted to do that and he spoke to his mum about it."

Alan's brother, Liam, agrees. "The most important thing is notifying your next of kin. Even if you have a card, they'll still be asked.

"The fact that Alan had the conversation with mam in the months before helped."

A difficult and time-sensitive discussion about organ donation becomes easier to process if there has been a conversation about it.

"It's so difficult because your world stops," says Louise. "You're trying to come to terms with your loved one dying and it's much easier to process conversations about transportation if you knew your loved one's wishes. You don't have time to discuss it because it's such a short window.

"Get a donor card and have the conversation. It may seem difficult. It will be harder to make a decision if the conversation never happens."

Knowing Alan helped so many other people brings some solace, says Liam.

There are more people on the list than there are organs being donated. "People die every day on the list," says Louise. "These people are forgotten. For people who may be in our situation, where unfortunately for them a little bit of conversation can remove any angst and help five or six other families in dire need of organs, it's important there's awareness around the topic."

They are organising a sports extravaganza to raise awareness for organ donation and living healthily.

www.alanfeeley.com.

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