Donors honoured for 'giving hope'
David Gumbleton from Australia took a special decision early on in his life. If he died young his organs would be donated to help the living.
When he passed away in 2004 while living in Galway, his organs helped four Irish people to live.
Yesterday, David and the many others who had made such brave decisions, were honoured at the 25th anniversary Irish Kidney Association service of remembrance and thanksgiving.
Nine members of David's family from New South Wales, including his mum, Joanie, flew thousands of miles to be there. David's partner, Aoife Fitzsimons, along with their daughter Iseult, 8, were also there to remember him.
"He greatly affected everyone around him. Though he was a chef, he had a background in nursing, so that helped him make that decision early on in life," she said.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin gave a homily at the packed anniversary Mass in Corpus Christi Church, Drumcondra, Dublin. He said the generosity of those who became organ donors dramatically changed the lives of others.
"The desolation of tragic death becomes an occasion to give new hope and a new beginning to someone else," he said, while President Mary McAleese, patron of the Irish Kidney Association, also attended the occasion to honour organ donors and their families.
Transplant Team Ireland, who last August participated in the 6th European Transplant & Dialysis Games, took part in a procession during the service. One of the team members includes John Moran, who is celebrating 25 years since receiving his kidney transplant. The team's procession was led by Tony Gavigan, a transplant recipient, whose son's organs were donated after his tragic death.