Thursday 17 October 2019

Father's Day joy for Ivan as his kidney gives son Sam a new lease of life

Sam Kinahan (5) with father Ivan and mum Chloe
Sam Kinahan (5) with father Ivan and mum Chloe

Alan O'Keeffe

A Father's Day present like no other is the feeling of gratitude experienced today by kidney donor Ivan Kinahan.

Ivan was able to give his son Sam a new lease of life with the gift of one of his kidneys.

Little Sam remains in an isolation unit at Temple Street Children's Hospital after last Monday's surgery.

Both Ivan and Chloe Kinahan were deemed biological matches to donate a kidney to their five-year-old son.

Sam recovers in Temple Street Hospital after surgery last Monday
Sam recovers in Temple Street Hospital after surgery last Monday

Ivan was thrilled that he became the donor.

But the outlook was once grim for Sam. When he was in the womb, a scan appeared to show a fatal foetal abnormality, said Ivan (39). He told the Sunday Independent: "Even before he was born, in the very first scan, his kidneys showed they had damage and there was no chance of survival, basically. The prognosis was bad. Basically, he had a fatal foetal abnormality.

"When Chloe was in labour in the maternity hospital, we had three bags packed for him. One bag was for if, unfortunately, we had to bury him.

"Another bag was for if he was absolutely fine and there were no problems. And then a third bag for if he was OK but in need of hospitalisation. Different clothes for different scenarios.

"Fortunately, we got to use the hospital bag and he was transferred within a couple of days from the National Maternity Hospital over to Crumlin hospital," he said.

"From the day he was born, there was always the hope that one day he would get a transplant. It was always my hope that the donor would be me. I had always wanted to do more, being away from him a little bit more than Chloe was," he said.

Ivan said he has been in peak physical condition, thanks to his life-long love of running. He was both Dublin and Leinster 800 metres champion over a three-year period and has represented Ireland in the 2015 World Masters Athletics Championships in France. As a member of Crusaders Athletics Club in Irishtown, Dublin, he believes his fitness was part of his destiny, which has resulted in him being given the all-clear to donate his kidney to Sam.

Ivan and Chloe (38) live in Baldoyle, Dublin with daughter Ali (8) and Sam. Ivan is a salesman for an online engagement ring company and Chloe worked in the human resources department of a bank before becoming a full-time carer for Sam.

Chloe said the family was delighted the surgery to remove Ivan's kidney at Beaumont Hospital and the transplant at Temple Street went so well.

They offered their deepest thanks to the teams at both hospitals, to the dialysis nursing teams who cared for Sam, and "the fantastic Irish Kidney Association who really empowered us for so long".

When Sam was five months old, Chloe and Ivan began overseeing dialysis for him in their home for 11 hours a night, six nights a week. Two years ago, he began getting hospital dialysis three times a week.

"It will be wonderful that Sam will no longer have to be connected to tubes. He will be able to have full baths and also proper family water fights in the garden. And we can enjoy the normal things like family holidays. We are so grateful," she said.

They were glad of financial assistance from the new Living Donor Reimbursement Programme.

Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association, tel 01 6205306 or free text the word DONOR to 50050. Visit or download the 'Digital Organ Donor card' to your smartphone.

Sunday Independent

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