A BRIDE-TO-BE has donated a life-saving kidney to her sister who suffered the heartbreak of two failed transplants.
Melissa Honner (29), a national school teacher in Pike of Rushall, Co Laois, gave a kidney to her sister Alison who was struggling on dialysis for four years.
The ultimate gesture of sisterly love comes as European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation is marked today, highlighting the plight of 650 people in Ireland waiting for the call to tell them a suitable donor organ has been found.
Both sisters are now recovering after undergoing the operation on October 1 in Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.
Melissa, who is getting married next year, said it was a "no brainer that I should help my sister".
"I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to donate a kidney to Alison as, for some families, living donation might not be an option.
"I hope the general public support European Day for Organ Donation by having a discussion with their loved ones about organ donation and letting their wishes to donate be known in case they have an untimely death."
Alison, who is a media student, described how she was overwhelmed by her sister's gift. "Within three days of the transplant, I could feel that I had so much more energy. I've got the colour back in my cheeks.
"Now that Melissa has given me my life back, I can look forward to the future and being her bridesmaid on her special day.
"I would encourage people to carry an organ donor card and be aware of the immense difference a transplant can make to all those people with organ failure who are hoping to receive the gift of life."