Tipperary mum urges public to sign up as organ donors after lifesaving operation

Niamh Dillon

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Niamh Dillon

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niamh.dillon@tipperarystar.ie

Tipperary mum urges public to sign up as organ donors after lifesaving operation

Olive Byrne calls for support for Organ Donor Awareness Week 2018

“Thanks to an organ donor I’ve been able to see my daughter grow up,” Tipperary mum of one and transplant patient Olive Byrne says ahead of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2018.

The Drombane woman, who is originally from Dublin but moved to Tipperary with her husband Noel over 20 years ago, celebrated the tenth anniversary of a lifesaving kidney transplant at Christmas, and is now urging as many candidates as possible to register and become card carrying donors.

“I have such gratitude and respect for those who sign up to become donors and their families. I appreciate the gift I've been given every day because someone agreed to become an organ donor. But it’s so important that if you sign up to become a donor you let your family know your wishes,” she adds.

Olive was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, a hereditary condition passed down through her mother, Helena Cronin’s, side of the family.

“It doesn’t run, it gallops,” she says of the condition which has affected seven out of her ten siblings, as well as a nephew.

“My own mother died in her 40’s when I was nine from polycystic kidney disease and the fact that I received a kidney transplant means my own daughter still has her mother around.”

“I had both my kidneys removed two years prior to the transplant and underwent dialysis three times a week in Limerick. I was the fifth member of my family to undergo a transplant and although I have to be aware of my limitations I’m able to lead a happy life. I’m eternally grateful,” she says.

“My nephew Alan O'Farrell spoke at the launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week and my brother Phillip in the US has taken part in the Transplant Games in Golf so if we can encourage even one more person to register this week it's a step in the right direction.”

Organ Donor Awareness Week 2018 will take place from 31st March until 7th April.