Saturday 25 November 2017

The best gift of all for this Mother's Day

Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

It's an extra special hug that says "Thanks for everything mum." And Bernie Osgood deserves more than most to be pampered on this Mother's Day.

Bernie, from Ballinlough, Co Roscommon, has given life to her seven-year-old daughter Rebecca not just once but twice.

Bernie donated a kidney to Rebecca in July 2010 -- a precious gift that has transformed the youngster's life.

Rebecca suffered kidney failure at the age of two, as a result of E-coli poisoning, and up until her transplant had been receiving 10-hour nightly dialysis treatment.

Initially, when Bernie asked to be considered as a potential living donor, she was not allowed by medics as she had recently given birth to her son, Conor, and needed time to recover.

In the meantime, Rebecca's father, Ian, was screened for a living donation but was not compatible.

Undeterred, Bernie persisted and eventually was allowed to go through the screening process, which took six months.

The outcome was a successful living donation transplant from mother to child which took place at Beaumont hospital on July 27, 2010.

Little Rebecca was well enough to return home just two weeks later, on the day of her seventh birthday. She is now a happy healthy girl and has returned to school.

Bernie says that Mother's Day will be a double celebration for their family.

Bernie, 34, says that the happy outcome would not have been possible but for the support of her own mother, Catherine, who took over the double role of mother and grandmother to Bernie's other two children Conor, 1, and Lauren, 9, when Bernie was caring for Rebecca through her illness, and whilst both were recuperating after the transplant.

Organ Donor Awareness Week 2011 starts this weekend, and continues until April 9. The life-saving awareness campaign is organised by the Irish Kidney Association and the Irish Donor Network. There are currently more than 650 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.

Almost 2,600 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life as a result of receiving organ transplants.

Sunday Independent

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