Tuesday 20 February 2018

‘Giving a kidney to my son was easiest decision I’ve made’ - County Councillor Ronan McMahon

South Dublin county councillor Ronan McMahon donated a kidney to his son Eoghan (20)
South Dublin county councillor Ronan McMahon donated a kidney to his son Eoghan (20)

David Kearns

A devoted father went under the knife to give his son the life-changing gift of a kidney.

Saying it was the “easiest decision I’ve ever taken”, South Dublin county councillor Ronan McMahon (50) said it had been a privilege to help his son Eoghan (20).

“For me, it was a no brainer. A few weeks of discomfort versus giving my son a whole new lease of life – what parent wouldn’t make that choice?” he told the Herald less than three weeks after undergoing transplant surgery at Beaumont Hospital.

“Eoghan was on dialysis for the past 18 months and when he was put on the organ donor list eight months ago, his mum and I got tested.

“He’s had to give up so much because of his kidneys that it was an absolute privilege for me to go under the knife for him.

“It’s still early days for Eoghan,” he added. “But he is getting on well.”

Cllr McMahon said Eoghan was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a progressive kidney disease, when he was only ten.

As his kidneys worsened, the former Terenure College student was forced to give up rugby and football and was unable to travel abroad.

Despite requiring dialysis three times a week, Eoghan completed his Leaving Cert and got enough points to attend his desired course at National College of Art and Design (NCAD).

“He worked so hard during the Leaving Cert because he didn’t want to miss out on going to NCAD,” said Mr McMahon.

“The staff at Beaumont did everything they could to make sure Eoghan could get through his exams. If he had a subject in the morning, they’d do his dialysis in the evening.”

Since the operation on June 27, Mr McMahon and his son have returned home to Templeogue.

The Renua councillor is calling for more awareness around organ donation, saying that the Government should introduce an “opt out” scheme rather than the current system where people must choose to donate.

“It costs €60,000 to keep someone on dialysis for the year. A kidney transplant costs around €25,000. So, aside from greatly improving the quality of life of a dialysis patient, encouraging donations could save the health service millions of euro.

“I’d urge people to speak with family members about their wishes to donate. As tragic as it is to lose someone, their organs could save many more lives.”

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