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Families urged to have donation conversation after 274 organ transplants carried out in 2018

Over 270 transplants were carried out last year as a result of both deceased and live organ donors.

Families across the country are being urged to have a conversation about organ donation during Organ Donor Week.

Grainne Wyse's brother Ruairi passed away three years ago, and agreed to donate his organs.

She said he helped to save five other people's lives.

"One man, the man who got his liver says he celebrates a new birthday...it was his third birthday last year.

"The cards were fantastic to get, and letters. One man who got a kidney, John, is back at work, off all dialysis, he's able to see his kids grow up and he said it's just the best thing ever."

Professor Jim Egan, Director of Organ Donation Transplant Ireland acknowledged the enormous generosity of the 81 families who donated the organs of loved ones in 2018.

While organ donation continues to be a rare event, of 30,000 deaths each year in Ireland, there is an average of 80 multiorgan donations.

Currently, there are approximately 600 people waiting for a life-saving transplant in Ireland.

You are three times more likely to need a transplant than to be an organ donor.

“We experienced a consistent rate of organ donation and transplant in 2018, which reflects positively on the generosity of Irish society and the professionalism of the intensive care, theatre, medical and nursing staff," said Professor Egan.

"We are grateful for the support of An Post who elected to support organ donation with the launch of an organ donation stamp this month.

"Initiatives like this can only help to encourage the conversation in every home in Ireland and we hope it helps drive the number of donations in 2019 and beyond.

"We will continue to champion organ donation and encourage all to speak to their loved ones, so they let their wishes be known in relation to organ donation because organ donation saves lives”.

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website, or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

David Crosby from Kingscourt , Co Cavan, had his double lung transplant in 2016

Andy Kavanagh, An Post employee and longest surviving heart transplant recipient

Martina Goggin, from Galway, whose son and only child donated organs following a tragic car crash

Additional reporting by Newstalk