Mum’s death inspires son to donate kidney to girl

Mum’s death inspires son to donate kidney to girl

Brothers Joe and Craig O’Neill holding a photograph of their mother Violet who died suddenly while on hoildays in Spain and are unable to cover the costs of her funeral so are fundraising. Pic: Gavin Browne

A MAN who is struggling to fund his mother’s funeral after she passed away unexpectedly says his mother's kindness has inspired him to consider donating his kidney to a complete stranger.

Joe O’Neill, 28, Bishopstown, and his brother Craig, 19, are fundraising to cover the costs of a funeral for their mother Violet, after she died suddenly while on holidays in Santa Ponsa in May.

Although the brothers are receiving some financial aid, they say they cannot afford the total costs of returning their mother’s body to Cork.

Violet O’Neill was friends with everyone, according to her son Joe.

“She had a big heart and everyone is saying that, that she’d a heart of gold,” Mr O’Neill said.

“She was a character. There’s people ringing and texting saying she was a mother figure to them, she was a friend, a grandmother figure to their children,” he added.

The brothers have been overwhelmed by the large number of people who have come forward to offer their condolences after their mother’s passing, including friends they never knew she had.

After a woman from Longford contacted Mr O’Neill to offer her sympathies, Mr O’Neill her asked how she knew his mother as she had never spoken about her to him.

“She said ‘She was a shoulder to cry on’,” Mr O’Neill said, adding that the woman told him her 7-year old daughter is currently on dialysis and requires a kidney transplant.

“I know they were a distance away but she said my Mam used to text her throughout the day to see how her child was going with the dialysis. She said 'I don’t know how I’m going to get through, not having that support.' I said ‘there’s none of us that are going to turn our back on you. I’m still here to give you that support.’” Mr O’Neill is now considering being tested to see if he can donate his kidney to this woman's little girl.

“I’m taking this as a sign, that my mother put us in contact, we didn’t know one another before she died. The way I look at it is, she put me in contact with her. That’s the sign I took that my mother wants me to help this girl.” 

Although the brothers are receiving help from the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust, it will cost upwards of € 5,800 to pay for their mother's funeral. 

They have set up a GoFundMe page to try to pay for the funeral.To donate to the O’Neill’s fundraising campaign, visit

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