THE MOTHER of a young girl who underwent a lifesaving liver and double kidney transplant has called on more people to carry organ donor cards.
Kim Murphy, from Mallow, described organ donation as “the last selfless act” any person could ever do.
Speaking as Organ Donation Awareness Week begins, the mother urged people to discuss their wishes with their families, should the worst happen.
“Our daughter Lexi was born with polycistic kidney disease," she explained.
“We always knew that a transplant was on the cards, we just didn't know when it would be.”
For her first four years of life, Lexi was relatively well. But in the summer of 2014, her condition began to deteriorate.
“She got much worse, spending about a week in hospital every month with infections. In September 2015 the doctors decided to take out one of her kidneys to get her ready for the process of transplantation," said Kim.
“In December that year we travelled to Birmingham to begin assessments. She was put on the list but suspended 13 times because she was so sick that she wouldn't have been well enough to travel.”
Desperate for a solution, Lexi's dad Declan underwent testing to see if he could donate a piece of his liver. Six days before the operation was scheduled, a donor came through and Lexi received two new kidneys and a new liver in one operation.
That day was one of joy and sadness, Kim says.
“Initially the reaction was relief mixed with excitement that she was going to start her new life. There was also so much sadness at the thought that some other family were going through the worst time of their life. Not a day goes by that we don't think of that family.”
Kim says that she has written and re-written a letter to the donor's family, but simply doesn't know how to put into words the gratitude the family feels.
“Thank you just doesn't feel like enough,” she said.
“I would like to let them know how much of an impact they have had on our lives. It's five months since the operation so I think my mission for this week will be to finally send the letter.”
Lexi has said she would also like to send a letter when she is older and is grateful to feel so much better.
“She is full of life and gets to do all of the things that a normal seven-year-old does,” said Kim.
"She doesn't stop for breath now, she has so much energy. It is wonderful to see.”
Kim said her message to people this week is to consider researching organ donation.
“I encourage everyone to have that talk and let your family know what your wishes are. Organ donation can make such a difference to someone's life. It really is the gift of life and is the last selfless act you can do.”