Ballinamore lady, Meadhbh McGivern is one of four students at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, who have all been touched by organ failure, who are holding organ donor awareness activities at the campus during Organ Donor Awareness Week (March 31 – April 7).
Meadhbh and another of the students, Peter Kearney (from Celbridge) underwent organ transplants as children, a kidney and liver respectively. The other two students were involved in the living kidney donor process.
The four students have joined forces to organise information stands on organ donation at three locations around the campus during the Irish Kidney Association’s Organ Donor Awareness Week.
In the following week, the students are also planning a Discussion Forum on organ donation.
Meadhbh, aged 21, made local and national headlines in 2011 over a transport debacle when her family were unable to get urgent transport to fly her to the UK for the liver transplant she was called for. Two months later she underwent a successful liver transplant at Kings Hospital in London. She was 14 years old.
Maedhbh, who is studying Applied Social Science, explained, “I received my liver transplant in September 2011. My liver began to show signs of deterioration early in life. My childhood, and into my early teens was traumatic with a lot of sickness and various medical procedures.
“Regular hospital stays were the norm which had a huge impact on my education and life as a young adolescent. When I was eventually listed for transplant in 2010 my health was starting to fail. School ceased in November 2010. My spleen had become so enlarged that the pain became unbearable. While a vigorous pain management regime helped, I spent my time in a daze.
“That’s all behind me now. I received a liver from a deceased donor and have never looked back. While anonymous, I pray for my deceased donor and their wonderful family every day. The ending of my donor’s life meant a new start to mine. Needless to say, I have been a strong advocate of organ donation ever since. The importance cannot be over stated. Life is good. I am so lucky, and so thankful.”