Recipient Bernie encourages all to carry donor card

Launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week

Recipient Bernie encourages all to carry donor card

Bernie Beirne, a mother of four, from Ballinamore, and who lives just half a mile down the road from liver transplant recipient Colm Costello, received a liver transplant which she underwent at St. Vincents University Hospital Dublin n September 2009.

Bernie was just 51 years old when she underwent her liver transplant at St. Vincent’s University Hospital. It was a very stressful time for her and her husband and family as three of her children were in college and her youngest son was just 16 and still at school.

She and her husband also run a busy business, Beirne’s shop and filling station in Ballinamore.

Bernie was diagnosed with primary bilary cirrhosis, an auto immune disorder, thirteen years prior to her transplant.

Her condition was managed for several year but closer to the time of her transplant her condition worsened considerably and she was on the transplant waiting list for seven weeks prior to receiving the life saving call that a suitable deceased donor liver had become available.

Donor cards and
Forget-Me-not Flowers

Throughout Organ Donor Awareness Week, Irish Kidney Volunteer collectors will be distributing organ donor cards and selling forget-me-not flowers and other merchandise throughout Leitrim county during the week and in Carrick-on-Shannon on the following days and venues: Supervalu - April 2, Bank of Ireland - April 8, and Aldi - April 9. 'Percy French' (aka Frank Cadam) will be helping in Supervalu for a few hours around lunchtime on Saturday 2nd - we might even get a song or recital!

There are approximately 550 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.

Thanks to the gift of organ donation over 3000 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life. In 2015, 266 organs were transplanted, 233 were as a result of the generosity of the families of 81 deceased donors and the remaining 33 were from living kidney donors.

The focus of Organ Donor Awareness Week is to raise awareness about the ongoing and ever increasing demand for organ transplantation which relies on the public for organ donation.

Its key message is that families need to talk and keep the reminders of their willingness to donate visible by carrying the organ donor card, downloading the Smartphone App and permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s license.

Organ Donor Awareness Week also serves as a fundraising exercise for the Irish Kidney Association. Throughout the Week (April 2 - 9), the Association’s volunteers will be out on the streets, and in shopping centres throughout the country, selling 'forget-me-not-flower' emblems, brooches, pens and shopping trolley discs.

All proceeds will go towards the Irish Kidney Association’s aid for patients on dialysis and those patients fortunate enough to have received a kidney transplant. The Irish Kidney Association’s charitable activities include the provision of a 13 double bedroom free accommodation facility for patients and their families in the grounds of Beaumont Hospital and holiday centres located in Tramore and Kerry, together with patient advocacy, advice, financial aid and rehabilitative, health promotion through sport and the provision of kidney patient information and education.

The IKA has introduced another fundraising technique. You can text “kidney” to 50300 and €2 will be donated from your mobile phone account to the IKA.