Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


Sligo Event acknowledges Organ Donation

At a moving event held in Sligo on October 5th to acknowledge the importance of organ donation, the families of donors, recipients who received the gift of life through organ donation, and those still waiting for a transplant, spoke of their individual experiences of donation and transplantation.

The event, themed "Connection & Acknowledgement"  was organised by Olivia Seery and  took place in the Sligo Park Hotel.  Olivia's husband donated his kidneys in 2007 and many of their extended family were present and spoke of what donation meant to them. Speaking afterwards, Olivia said "the afternoon fulfilled its purpose which was to give an opportunity to those families of donors and recipients to acknowledge each other and express their gratitude".

Martina Goggin was the first speaker who spoke from the heart of her own experience of losing her only child, Éamonn, donating his organs and founding Strange Boat Donor Foundation to promote organ donor awareness, and to give support and comfort to all involved in the organ donation community -
This was to set the tone for the afternoon when most of the 30 people present shared their own experiences.

Local members of the Sligo Branch of the IKA also spoke, including kidney recipients Cathriona Charles and Chairman, Michael McHugh, who welcomed people on behalf of the IKA -  Michael spoke about waiting for ‘the call’. The date and time of that call is invariably remembered each year and grateful thoughts and prayers sent to the donor and their families. A candle is lit each Christmas in their memory. Equally important is the realisation that the joy and happiness of receiving that call is mirrored by the grief and sadness of those who have lost their loved one.
A lady spoke about the suddenness of her daughter’s illness while on her honeymoon and now on home dialysis but not yet a candidate for kidney transplant.
Others shared what it was like to be faced with their loved one on life support hoping for that miracle and confronting whether to agree to have the Beaumont team harvest the organs. They are now so grateful to have made that decision.

Joe McGivern shared how his daughter Meadhbh had been sick and in and out of hospital all her young life. The first time she got the call for her liver transplant it didn’t work out due to a failure with getting her on the plane. They didn’t give up and now she is a grateful recipient. Meadhbh then shared her own experience and read a poem that said it all. Everybody present was moved by her great courage.

Overall the afternoon provided an opportunity for donors and recipients and their families to come face to face with each other. The plight of those still waiting for that call was highlighted and those who, because of their condition were unable to attend were remembered.

There was a unanimous call for a follow up event.

Some of those present at the event

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