Limerick man got kidney just weeks after brother’s organs were donated

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Brian Sheehy with organ donation ambassador and Gaelic Football pundit Joe Brolly after his second kidney transplant in 2014.

THEY say what goes around comes around and in the midst of terrible tragedy, a County Limerick family found the courage to donate a son’s organs only to have a kidney donated to another son a few weeks later.

33-year-old Brian Sheehy from Athea underwent his first kidney transplant from a deceased donor in Sept 2005 when he was 16 years old.

Just weeks before, in August, Brian’s brother Patrick was tragically killed in a car accident.

Brian’s parents made the decision to donate his organs  –  his heart, lungs, liver, two kidneys and his pancreas which saved six lives.

Weeks later, Brian – who had just started dialysis for his damaged kidneys – got the call that a donor who matched him had been found.

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In 2014, when the donor kidney began to rapidly fail, Brian’s uncle, Mike Sheedy proved the closest match in the family for Brian and donated one of his kidneys.

“It changed everything. I was able to go back to work and save for a house with my partner, Sarah Reidy and we’ve moved in with our daughter, 11 year-old Kayla,” Brian told the Limerick Post.

Now the happy couple are planning an August wedding and because of the transplant, they have also been able to book a honeymoon to Portugal.

Recalling the eventful few weeks when the family went through the trauma of Patrick’s tragic death and then received the good news that he was to get a kidney, Brian says it was “a roller coaster.”

“We were going through such a terribly sad time and then got good news. I believe that because of what my parents did in donating Patrick’s organs, I got my kidney.”

He says he would urge anyone thinking of donation to go ahead with it.

“You can save a life or give someone their life back – I would say go for it.”

The key message of this year’s Organ Donor Awareness Week is “Share Your Wishes,” to let loved ones know you want to donate.

Individuals who wish to support organ donation are encouraged to keep the reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card, permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s licence or having the ‘digital organ donor card’ app on their smartphone.

Organ Donor Cards can be requested here