More than 5,000 have requested donor cards since Orla documentary

Orla Tinsley's story was told in a documentary on RTE One on Monday night

Allison Bray

A young woman's inspirational documentary about her battle with cystic fibrosis sparked the biggest flood of requests for organ donor cards in almost a decade.

Since RTE One aired Orla Tinsley: Warrior on Monday night, the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) said it had received more than 5,000 requests for organ donor cards.

The surge in requests is the largest the charity has seen in years, with many people requesting multiple donor cards.

Although Ms Tinsley had a double lung transplant, the IKA is responsible for distributing the donor cards for all organ donations in Ireland.

"On a normal day we would receive between 20 and 50 requests for organ donor cards," IKA chief executive Mark Murphy said.


"The public's interest in organ donation has dramatically spiked since campaigner Orla Tinsley's documentary was aired on Monday.

"Such a level of public response has not been seen for almost a decade. Orla's courage has moved the public in such a powerful and visceral way to support organ donation.

"Her powerful documentary will now give hope to the 600 or more people currently on organ transplant waiting lists, he said.

It also demonstrates "how powerful individual stories shared by people who have been touched by organ failure and organ donation can capture the public's empathy."

"We hope that the public will continue to have that vital discussion about organ donation with their loved ones and let their wishes be known", he added.

The documentary was filmed over 14 months and charted the young Co Kildare woman's life as she was put on a waiting list for a double lung transplant, shortly after she arrived in New York City to study at Columbia University at the age of 30.

She allowed the makers of the documentary to capture both the setbacks of struggling with the life-threatening condition to the ultimate joy of having the transplant.

She revealed her joy to the public's reaction in a tweet earlier this week in which she said: "I have no words for the response tonight. I am in awe of the way people are reaching out, understanding and committing to becoming donors. I appreciate and I'm reading every single story and response. Thank you for being part of this and making a difference."