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04/08/2021

Thurles student helps launch Organ Donor Awareness week

Thurles student helps launch Organ Donor Awareness week

A liver transplant recipient from Holycross features in the online launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2021 organised by the Irish Kidney Association.

Twenty-one year old Tomas Caffrey is a third year student in Hotel & Leisure Management at Athlone IT.

Also supporting the campaign is Antoinette Power from Carrick on Suir. The mum of three developed kidney failure on her third pregnancy and was receiving hospital dialysis treatment through lockdown while trying to care for her young family. However in October 2020 she received a call for her life changing kidney transplant.

The Irish Kidney Association will celebrate the annual awareness week with many public sites around the country being lit up in green from Saturday, March 27 until Saturday, April 3.

While many things have been put on pause during the Covid-19 pandemic, the need for organ donation and transplantation continues. Despite the unprecedented challenges which the pandemic has presented, organ transplants have continued thanks to organ donors and their families and also the dedicated transplant teams in our transplanting hospitals, Beaumont, St. Vincent’s, The Mater and Temple Street.

At any one time in Ireland there are between 550 and 600 people on waiting lists for organ transplants including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas. There was a fall in the number of transplants in 2020 across all the national transplant programmes.

Speaking at the national launch of Organ Donor Awareness Week, Ms. Carol Moore, Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association said, “Sadly Covid-19 had and continues to have a serious unwelcome impact on the transplant community. Initial medical advice was to cocoon. Suddenly people previously leading a normal life, can no longer attend work or socialise. There was fear and anxiety about the risks amongst patients attending hospitals. This has also had a significant impact on people’s mental health. A number of people in the dialysis and transplant community died with Covid-19, and we would like to express our deep sympathies to their families.”

“A year ago, the 2020 Organ Donor Awareness Week campaign was postponed and ultimately cancelled at short notice when Covid-19 reached our shores. This impacted on the Irish Kidney Association’s ability ‘on the ground’ to promote organ donor awareness and the annual Awareness Week campaign. With Covid-19 still a reality, we have adapted with new ideas for the 2021 awareness campaign.”

“The Irish Kidney Association is delighted to announce that, for the very first time, demonstrating nationwide solidarity in support of organ donation, many County and City Councils around the country will light up public sites in green throughout the week-long campaign. Green is the internationally recognised colour which celebrates organ and tissue donation.”
“Patients on transplant waiting lists live in hope that organs will become available to them. Whilst there is hope, it is also a difficult time as their future is uncertain and they know that another family is grieving the loss of a loved one. By lighting up public sites in green we are drawing attention to organ donation being an integral part of active citizenship on the part of the public. From dusk to dawn, over 40 public sites will be lit up in green, undoubtedly prompting much discussion around organ donation,” she concluded.

Among the sites taking part in Tipperary are Carrick Municipal District, Tipperary Cahir Cashel Municipal District, Civic Offices Clonmel and Town Hall Clonmel.

This year’s awareness campaign is built around the theme #Life is a Gift Pass it On and Share your Wishes.

The Irish Kidney Association is encouraging the wider public to show their support for the campaign by organising their own socially distanced awareness activities and challenges.

Social media hashtags for Organ Donor Awareness Week include #LifeIsAGift and #DonorWeek21. People can also tag the Irish Kidney Association when doing their own posts (@IrishKidneyAs on Twitter, @IrishKidneyA on Instagram & @IrishKidneyAssociation on Facebook).

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