LIVING with kidney failure is no joke for anyone but especially if you are a father and husband and a member of an Garda Siochana.
Shannon community Garda Noel Pearse, a father of three boys and a girl aged between 8 and 15 and a native of Rathbane in Limerick city, spent months in hospital after an auto-immune disorder seriously damaged his kidneys in 2006.
He was released but had to undergo dialysis four times a day, via a bag attached to a catheter in his stomach. Noel had to perform the dialysis even while he was in work and that meant he was confined in his job to indoor duty.
“We really couldn’t plan anything because I was always on the clock, watching what time it was until I had to get hooked up to another bag,” Noel told the Limerick Post.
But the generosity of a grieving family has given Noel a new lease of life since he received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor in January 2018.
“It’s made such a difference, I have time and energy to spend with my family now, we can go on trips. We had a foreign holiday for the first time.
“The biggest thing is just feeling well – you forget what that feels like when you’ve been ill for so long,” said Noel.
“The donor’s family are always on your mind. A terrible thing happened for them but because of them, something fantastic happened for me and my family. I will always be grateful to them for what they did at such a difficult time for them”.
Last year during Organ Donor Awareness Week, Noel organised a coffee morning at Shannon Garda Station which was supported by his Garda colleagues and drew a large attendance of the local community. The event raised more than €700 for the Irish Kidney Association.
Noel has written to the deceased donor family anonymously via the transplant coordinators Office at Beaumont Hospital.
Organ donor awareness week starts on March 25 – with the aim of encouraging people to carry an organ donor card, allowing the donor code 115 on their driver’s licence or downloading the digital organ donor card to their smartphone.
Organ donor week is also a fundraising week for the Irish Kidney Association and volunteers will be out and about all week selling Forget-me-not flowers.