Wednesday 21 August 2019

‘My son saved my life when he gave me his kidney, now I’d like to save someone else's'

Liam Martin, who received a kidney from son Darren (right), is enjoying a new lease of life
Liam Martin, who received a kidney from son Darren (right), is enjoying a new lease of life

Elaine Keogh

A man whose life was transformed after his son donated a kidney to him says he would now like to donate bone marrow “to give something back”.

It is four years since Liam Martin (52) began dialysis after his kidneys failed.

The father-of-two was told 28 years ago, when he was 24, that he would eventually need a transplant.

Farmer Liam, from Templederry, Co Tipperary, said he lived a relatively normal life until five years ago “when I started to go downhill”.

After 18 months he had to go on dialysis in hospital and was put on the organ donor waiting list. He was “overwhelmed” when his son Darren (26) volunteered.

“The last thing I would dream of doing was asking for a kidney. Darren put his masters on hold to do the donation,” said the proud dad.

Liam and Darren Martin, Templederry, Co. Tipperary.
Photo: Donal O' Leary
Liam and Darren Martin, Templederry, Co. Tipperary. Photo: Donal O' Leary

That was in September 2014, and the operation took place the following April.

“Before the transplant, dad would walk across the yard and be tired and sweating. Having the transplant was like turning back the clock for him – he has such a better quality of life,” said Darren.

“I had finished college and was in a position to help. I don’t see any difference in my life after donating my kidney. I don’t miss it.”

Anyone considering being a donor, he said, “should just go for it”.

“I had a good childhood and I owe my parents what I have, so it’s nice to pay them back – they would do the same for me,” he said.

worrying

Liam’s wife Kathleen said: “Darren was set to head to Austria to do his masters and he dropped it all for his dad. It was a worrying time for me to have both my husband and my son having operations, but today they’re both in great health.”

The family paid tribute to the medical team at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin, where the transplant was carried out.

“To anyone thinking of donating, I would say don’t hesitate – it’s the most precious thing you can do,” said Liam.

“I would love to give bone marrow. If I can I will give it so I can give something back and, when the day comes, I want my organs to be donated.”

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