Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


Working Quietly in the Background

There are many stories to be told of how people, who were given the gift of life through organ transplantation, work quietly and tirelessly in their own individual way to promote organ donor awareness. Danielle Walsh is one such person.

Danielle Walsh became seriously ill when she was studying for her junior cert at the local Presentation Convent School, in Thurles. She was diagnosed with end stage renal failure, which was devastating news to the teenager and her family. Danielle had to travel to Dublin for her treatment 3 days per week and was accompanied by her Mum, Kit, for most of those arduous journeys. As Danielle became stronger she was put on the transplant waiting list, in the meantime she returned to school to continue her studies.

The following Summer Danielle travelled to Lourdes with a group of friends and returned home to Thurles in much greater spirits. On the June Bank Holiday the long awaited phone call arrived at 8.30 am, Danielle received the ‘Gift of Life’ – a kidney transplant -  later that day.  Her transplant surgeon was former Dublin football star, Mr. David Hickey.

“Without the donor and their family’s selfless gesture”, said Danielle,  “my health, and many others like me, may not be what it is today. Not a single day goes by since June 1995 that the donor and the donor’s family are not in my thoughts and prayers”.


For the past 16 years Danielle has worked quietly in the background promoting donor awareness and supporting kidney research.

Having spoken with, and being encouraged by her consultant, Prof. J Walshe, at Beaumont Hospital last year, Danielle decided to help make a greater difference. As a keen follower of Tipperary hurling Danielle was inspired and motivated by the Premier men in blue and gold last summer, and came up with this novel idea for raising funds. Danielle attended the home coming of the All Ireland champions where she got to meet the players and asked them to help her create awareness of organ donation.

A successful fundraiser was held in the Monks Pub in Thurles, supported by Tipp captain Eoin Kelly and his team mates. Signed Jerseys by victorious teams and Micheal O’Muircheartaigh and other sporting prizes were auctioned. The Garda College table of Chief Supt Jack Nolan, Supt Sarah Meyler and Supt Pat McCabe acquired the Tipp jersey, and Danielle and her dad, Mike, were invited to the Garda College in Templemore on Graduation Day where Danielle presented the framed signed jersey.  She was then presented with a cheque and she thanked An Gárda Siochána personally for supporting her fundraising initiative. She also took the opportunity of appealing to the three officers to help promote greater awareness of organ donation within the community of An Garda Siochana.

All funds raised will go to the Irish Kidney Research Institute,




Supt. Pat McCabe, Danielle presenting a signed Tipp jersey to Garda College Chief Supt. Jack Nolan, Supt. Sarah Meyler. Also in the photo Mike Walsh, Danielle's father.                                              






 Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh signing a jersey for Danielle

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