Friday 28 July 2017

'Operation was a huge success' - Irish comedian undergoes surgery to save brother's life in US

Jarlath Regan flew to the US to donate a kidney to his brother Adrian
Jarlath Regan flew to the US to donate a kidney to his brother Adrian
Patricia Murphy

Patricia Murphy

Irish comedian Jarlath Regan has said he is "over the moon" after successfully donating a kidney to his older brother Adrian in the US.

The London-based comedian (36) flew over to Minnesota to undergo surgery, which could extend his brother's life expectancy by more than 25 years.

Jarlath Regan Photo: Twitter
Jarlath Regan Photo: Twitter

"We're both over the moon with the results. So far so good," Jarlath tweeted.

"Operation was a huge success on both sides."

The Kildare comedian, who presents podcast An Irishman Abroad, learned he was a near perfect match to donate an organ to his older brother, who has suffered from a rare condition for most of his life.

Speaking on the Eoghan McDermott Show on RTE 2fm last month, Jarlath (36) said the decision to donate a kidney to his brother was made "in a heart beat".

Jarlath, who has a six-year-old son, said that while it was an easy decision to make, the stress of the upcoming surgery has fallen on the shoulders of his wife Tina.

"He had the option of dialysis but that would be so difficult. I knew that I wanted to be it. If my brother said to me 'My left foot is ruined and I need you to amputate yours', I probably would think about it.

Comedian Jarlath Regan is set to donate a kidney to his brother Photo: Steve Ullathorne
Comedian Jarlath Regan is set to donate a kidney to his brother Photo: Steve Ullathorne

"My wife is an amazing woman. She is an incredible human being. I asked the doctors was it normal for people to be so blasé about it, as I was, and they said it was. What’s also known is that the person closest to the donor can take on the stress. I really feel that Tina has had to endure a lot of the stress that I haven’t because he’s my brother. She does get that if it was her sister or brother, she’d do it in a heartbeat," said Jarlath.

The comedian said Irish people need to be more open about organ donation, which is an potion often skirted around.

"If the organ fails, he won't be stuck. In the States there is an organ donor network over there. Even though his wife isn't a proper match for him, her plan should this not work, her plan is to donate her kidney to someone on the network who needs it, and in exchange find someone who suits him. There are people walking in off the streets in the States who are saying 'I am a healthy human being, I hear you need kidneys, have mine'. Those people have the true hearts of gold.

"It’s a discussion that needs to be had in Ireland. I know that people are dying as a result of the shortage of organs available."

The comedian will be exploring his experience with organ donation on his podcast The Irishman Abroad in coming weeks. For more information visit www.jigser.com

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