A COURAGEOUS mum of two in desperate need of a new pancreas and kidney is urging people to sign up for organ donors cards to reduce numbers on the transplant waiting list.
Christine Crowley O’Mahony from Douglas has been undergoing haemodialysis treatment at Cork University Hospital (CUH) for almost two years.
The 36-year-old is currently going through a series of medical tests to secure a place on the transplant waiting list.
Christine, who has two sons —Darragh, 12, and Killian, 3 — attends CUH four times a week for haemodialysis. She said that the procedure lasts for four hours, restricting the time she can spend with family.
According to Christine, the average period for transplant patients to be on the waiting list is between two and three years. Nonetheless, she pointed out that this could be significantly reduced if enough people signed up to become organ donors.
Her plea comes over 10 years since her dad received a combined pancreas and kidney transplant.
“Almost 11 years on, my father is still fighting fit,” Christine said.
She acknowledged her father’s donor family for the gift they have given them.
“Knowing that you are giving a new life to someone and that part of your loved one lives on in someone else has to give some comfort,” she added.
Christine explained that type 1 diabetes runs in her family and led to the health issues she is experiencing. She was diagnosed with the condition on her 21st birthday.
The Cork woman described the struggles for those waiting for transplants.
“I’ll be on dialysis two years this July. Unfortunately, I haven’t made it to Dublin to get on the list. I’ve done all the tests and everything that needs to be done. There is so much that you need to have before meeting with consultants in Dublin, right down to a letter from your dentist to make sure your gums and teeth are healthy enough for going under the anaesthetic.
“There are a good few of us trying to get on the list. While more has opened up medically now, the pandemic didn’t help things.”
Christine is looking forward to the final stages of her medical assessments, which will take place at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin and, hopefully, secure her a place on the transplant waiting list.
“When you get to Dublin, they run tests and, after the results come back, you hopefully make it on to the list,” she said.
“After we first went into lockdown, I was hoping this would happen by the summer, but we just have to wait and see.”
Christine hopes that she can undergo a double transplant when the time finally comes.
“Generally, they come from the same donor. When my dad had his transplant 10 and a half years ago he had the same donor.
“It’s diabetes that affects my kidneys, so I’d prefer to opt for a double transplant. However, at this stage, I would consider going for a kidney and staying on the transplant list for a pancreas.”
Christine is juggling parenting, dialysis and a job as a contact tracer.
“It can be tough,” she said. “I go for dialysis two mornings and two evenings a week.
“The contact tracing work is 9am to 5pm and I go for dialysis at 6.30pm when doing evenings at the hospital. After a while, all these things become routine.
“We kept it from Darragh at first, but he started asking questions and knows everything now. Killian is too small to understand.
“As far as he’s concerned, I’m just going in to get my medicine.”
The mother of two described how she stays strong.
“You take a rest and look at the brighter days ahead. What keeps me going is knowing that I’ll be able to spend more time with my children and do more with them.
“Right now, I don’t have the energy to do a lot of things, but my dream post-transplant is to take my kids to Disney World in Florida.”
- To find out more about organ donation or to sign up for an organ donor card visit https://ika.ie/