Kidney transplant father and daughter appeal for more donor card carriers
A father and daughter who are both waiting for a kidney transplant have made a heartfelt plea for people to give the gift of life and carry a donor card.
Tom and Noreen O'Halloran suffer from hereditary polycystic kidney disease and are both on dialysis treatment until they undergo life-saving surgery.
Mr O'Halloran, 64, has already had two kidney transplants but is "hoping and waiting" for an emergency call from Dublin's Beaumont Hospital since his last kidney failed in 2005.
His 35-year-old daughter, who was married in April, said she feels like her life has been at a standstill since she started dialysis over 14 months ago.
"When you are doing dialysis four times a day, seven days a week, it feels like a lifetime," she said.
"I would just love to have my normal life back again.
"Myself and my husband could plan for the future, go on holidays whenever and where ever we wanted.
"I would have no more diet restrictions, the tube in my abdomen would be gone, and no more three monthly blood tests to be kept on the transplant list."
Mr O'Halloran travels from his home in Ballylanders, Co Limerick, to Limerick Regional Hospital three times a week for his four hours of dialysis treatment.
His daughter, from Mitchelstown, Co Cork, said every day at work and any night out or weekend away has to be planned to precision and timetabled around dialysis, while her wish to start a family with her husband Brendan is on hold until after a transplant.
She believes that if more people understood kidney failure they would request an organ donor card by texting the word DONOR to 50050.
Through her blog - www.kidneyfailuremystory.com - Mrs O'Halloran-Hanlon gives a graphic and honest account of her illness and life on dialysis.
"Some charities are asking for money, but we are just asking for a signature," Mrs O'Halloran-Hanlon added.
"Carry a donor card, just sign the back of a driving licence or tell a family member your wishes.
"Organ donation is a gift and you are passing on a gift after you live.
"People only need one kidney to survive so they could also consider being a living donor if they have a family member or friend on dialysis."
More than 1,800 people in Ireland receive dialysis treatment, with another 600 in the transplant pool awaiting transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.
In 2011, a record 192 kidney transplants took place, including 27 living donor transplants and 165 from deceased donors.
The grieving families of another 93 deceased people also donated eight pancreas, 61 liver, six hearts and eight lungs that saved the life of another person.