Kidney donor gave Ben a normal life
A local family is urging the public to support Organ Donor Awareness Week from April 2 to 9, which is being organised by the Irish Kidney Association.
The Kelly family from Hunters Green, Gorey, who are currently raising funds to help send their son Ben, (12), to take part in the British Transplant Games, as part of Team Ireland this summer, said that Ben has done so well since he received his kidney transplant in 2012. They are encouraging everyone to carry an Organ Donor Card.
After years of enduring kidney failure since he was a baby, Ben is now enjoying a normal childhood thanks to a deceased donor who gave him the gift of life three years ago. He started dialysis aged four months. His early childhood revolved around nightly dialysis treatment for up to 13 hours.
His parents, Veronica and Patrick, and family members were screened for living donation and his uncle Joseph Kelly was found to be suitable. The transplant went ahead, but it was a huge disappointment to when it failed. Just few weeks later he was called for another transplant, this time from a deceased organ donor.
'We will never forget the selflessness of Ben's uncle Joseph for donating a kidney to him and even though the transplant wasn't a success, it did offer us all hope and thankfully we didn't have to wait long for his luck to change,' said Veronica.
'Ben's donor is someone we will never know but is our hero, as his life has been transformed,' she continued. 'When he was growing up, Ben longed to do all the things other children of his age could do. He seldom complained but he always wanted to enjoy the simple things in life like fizzy orange and crisps that he would see other children have at parties.
'After his successful transplant, his consultant Dr. Atif Awan at Temple Street Hospital visited him in ICU and brought him a bag of Tayto as he knew that Ben had craved this for such a long time. Since his transplant he has taken up swimming and is now swimming like a fish in water. He can happily play with his younger sister Mya. He eats whatever he wants and most importantly he is able to do what other children of his age are doing and is catching up on all the time he lost at his school, Gorey Educate Together. His donor has saved his life and given him a normal childhood.'
Keep reminders of your willingness to donate visible by carrying an organ donor card, download the smartphone app, or permit Code 115 to be included on your driver's license. Buy a forget-me-not-flower emblem, brooch, pen or trolley disc to support the IKA. Text 'kidney' to 50300 and €2 will be donated to the IKA. Organ Donor Cards are available in pharmacies, GP surgeries, Citizens Information offices, or from the Kidney Association on 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. Visit www.ika.ie .