North County Leader

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Local Lady Raises Donor Awareness

For Patricia Mackenzie from Portmarnock, donor week 2009 is going to be extra special. Mackenzie received a donor last year after being on the donor waiting list for over eight years.

The Portmarnock native told the North County Leader that it was after falling in her bedroom that lead to the diagnosis ofkidney failure. “I fell over a flex in my bedroom and hit my head off the wall, it was a particularly bad fall so my GP referred me to Beaumont hospital. I was doing well before the accident and within a matter of weeks, I found myself on the the transplant list,” she said.

“For eight years I had to go into Beaumont hospital at 4:30am for three hours, three mornings a week to get my dialysis. I was very tired from it and all I could do was go to bed. It was like my life was standing still as the world outside was moving on,” she added. It has been predicted by the Irish Kidney Association that 2009 will see a record number of kidney transplants needed in Ireland.

According to the Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association, Mark Murphy, “the high number of kidney transplants in 2009 is based on sustaining or increasing the current levels of deceased donors.”

This year Mackenzie is part of over 25 volunteers that will be taking to the streets of North County Dublin to give out donor cards and raise some much needed funds for the organisation. However, they are always looking for more volunteers to help them support donor week.

“We would like more people to volunteer during donor week. This year fromMarch 28 until April 4th we will be in the shopping centres all over North Dublin giving out donor cards and selling the forget-me-not flowers and key rings.The awareness campaign, which is organised by the Irish Kidney Association and supported by the Irish Donor Network, was launched by the Minister for Health & Children, Mary Harney T.D., at the Mansion House on Tuesday 24th March.

Mr. Murphy cautioned that there is a need for many more deceased organ donors before levels of heart, lung and liver transplantation can increase.

Mr. Murphy said that “trained donor co-ordinators, a Transplant Authority and the utilisation of another source of organ donors and Cardiac Death Donors, would increase the level of organ donation and transplantation in Ireland.”

Last year81 deceased donors and their families consented for donation and 210 organs were transplanted in Ireland. In 2007 there were 88 deceased donors which was 3 less than in 2006.