While most of Tipperary was watching the All-Ireland Final replay, Thurles lady Danielle was in Galway for a remembrance service.
While thousands from Tipp went on pilgrimage to Croke Park that day, Danielle, an avid Premier supporter, took part in the ‘Service of Light’ by lighting a candle from the Easter Candle and placing it on the altar. This ceremony remembers those who have died and, in turn, celebrates the resurrection of life.
Members of Transplant Team Ireland, who during the summer participated in the 8th European Transplant Championships in Krakow, also brought candles forward.
For many donor families this Service has become an anniversary to both remember their loves ones, and for transplant recipients, to honour and give thanks for the wonderful ‘Gift of Life’ they have received.
Following this event the President, Michael D. Higgins, who is the Patron of the Irish Kidney Association, was the ‘Guest of Honour’ at the ‘Circle of Life’ Garden where he praised the generosity of organ donor families for giving the greatest gift possible to others.
The National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden, “Circle of Life”, at Quincentennial Park, Salthill, is the brainchild of Martina and Denis Goggin. This exceptional couple founded the Strange Boat Foundation following their son Éamonn’s death in a road collision in 2006. The aims of the foundation are to help raise awareness of the importance of this life giving cause, and to give comfort, consolation and support to all those affected by organ donation and transplantation.
Having made the decision to donate Éamonn’s organs the Goggins reckoned the idea that other lives could be impacted positively by the tragic event of their son’s passing was a great source of comfort to them.
Denis and Martina went on set up the Foundation, named after one of Éamonn’s favourite songs which in turn planted the seed for the Circle of Life Garden in 2009.
Donors from all the 32 counties are represented along the heritage wall; on Saturday it appeared the Tipperary and Kilkenny stones were the main focus of attention for the evening!
Danielle had a very emotional but inspirational stroll around the peaceful Circle of Life garden before sharing some private moments with Martina. Prior to her departure Danielle vowed to return soon to this very special park in the west of Ireland. Missing out on the game over on the east coast faded into insignificance having shared precious time with so many donor families and fellow recipients.
Danielle received her gift of life on the June bank holiday 1995 and is forever grateful to her donor and the transplant team , led by former Dublin footballer, David Hickey .