Approaching the festive season many are frantically searching for gifts for loved ones but one Glencar man, Alan Healy, will be giving an extra special gift to his mother Helena as he will be donating a kidney.
Talking to the Leitrim Observer Helena explained her kidneys began to deteriorate in 1996 after taking medication for a minor complaint. “Until two years ago I lived on about 20% kidney function but was able to live a normal life but then they started to deteriorate.”
Helen recalled Dr Stack in Sligo General Hospital talked to her about organ donation and specifically ‘live donation’ which Helena said “Was starting to take off here. My sisters and children were the obvious place to find a match but my sisters were ruled out early on as they are a different blood type. Alan and my husband Pat were both a match and Alan decided he wanted to go through with it.”
While the prospect of a new lease of life is something she is no doubt looking forward, Helena, understandably had some reservations. “There are mixed emotions as a parent, the other side is the concern for your own child.”
Helena’s concern is understandable but the comprehensive scrutiny that Alan was subjected to means there is the comfort of knowing that he is in full health. As Helena explained, “He’s had his full M.O.T.! He’s 26, he’s young and fit and that offers a little bit of reassurance.”
While Helena may have been slightly apprehensive when the idea of her son donating his kidney was first raised, Alan was in no doubt about his decision. “It wasn’t a difficult decision at all” he explained, “It was always going to happen. She said she needed a new kidney so I got tested.”
Alan revealed blood and tissue sampling indicated he was a match and after a further year of testing he got a clean bill of health and the green light was given in August for the procedure to go ahead.
The date for the transplant has been fixed for January 28 in Beaumont Hospital with Alan explaining, “I’m not sure how long the operation will take but the recovery will be three months.”
Before the operation Alan has another big day organised as he has been busy planning a ‘Christmas Day Dip’ in Glencar Lake at 11.30am after Christmas Day mass. The aim of the dip is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and also raise much needed funds for the IKA.
Full details of the dip are available on the Facebook page that has been set up.