FEATURE: Two Leitrim cocooners celebrate 50 years of successful kidney transplants between them

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Reporter:

Leitrim Observer Reporter

Undeterred by the cancellation of the 2020 European Transplant & Dialysis Games which were to commence last week in Dublin two kidney transplant recipients who share a combined 50 years of successful transplantation are putting their time to good use while cocooning as part of a high risk group by sewing masks for healthcare professionals and others during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This week seamstress Cathriona Charles from Mohill, Co Leitrim marked the 30th anniversary of her kidney transplant while in her neighbouring county Cavan, Rose Dalton who will mark the 20th anniversary of her transplant next month, were both sewing away making masks for their communities in the fight against Covid-19. Both mothers had planned to represent Ireland in the 2020 European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Dublin which were to be held from 2-9 August along with over 500 participants from more than 25 countries.
As a way of honouring their deceased donors they have put their time to good use while cocooning as part of a vulnerable group during the pandemic and between them have made close to 1000 reusable fabric face masks helping others and the environment!
Cathriona, married to Charles Beirne, attributes her deceased kidney donor to making it possible to give life to her two adult children, Rebecca who is 29 years old and Neill who is 27.
She has been a fervent advocate for organ donation and has been a board member and branch Secretary of the Irish Kidney Association for over a decade.
Cathriona said, "I started dialysis treatment when I was 16 years old and had my transplant when I was 19. Were it not for my donor I would not have been able to give life to my two children and see them grow up.
“I am so grateful to my donor for the last 30 years of good health and for my two children and to be able to volunteer with the Irish Kidney Association to promote organ donation so that others might be as lucky as I am.
“I joined Transplant Team Ireland when Dublin hosted the 2010 European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and am disappointed that the games which were to return here this year are not able to proceed.
“It was nice to be able to give something back to my community while cocooning and being part of a small group of four from the Mohill Family Resource Centre who have made and distributed over 1500 masks free of charge for the community."
Rose enjoys making patchwork quilts in her spare time outside working as an administrator for BT and being a caring wife and mother to her husband Chris and their 25 year old son Christopher.
When Rose experienced kidney failure over two decades ago she underwent hospital dialysis treatment for just under two years. Grateful for the new lease of life she was given in the millennium year she joined Transplant Team Ireland and took part in the World Transplant Games in Canada in 2005.
In the lead up to her participation in the games Rose set up a fundraiser, 'the Mullahoran Annual Walk' for the Irish Kidney Association and the dialysis unit at Cavan Hospital which has become an annual event and has to date raised over €165,000.
Rose explained, "During the Covid-19 pandemic I joined a group 'Masks for All Ireland Sewists against Covid-19'. We have been making masks for healthcare professionals and vulnerable people. Although I have continued to work from home for my employer, making masks has helped me greatly.
“This is my way of giving something back and I will be forever grateful to my donor for giving me these last 20 healthy years."
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.
The public can also support the work of the Irish Kidney Association and can Freetext KIDNEY to 50300 to donate €4. Texts cost €4, Irish Kidney Association will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278. They can also donate through the Irish Kidney Association’s website https://ika.ie/make -a-contribution/