Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


Minister for Health supporting Organ Donation

Health Minister Leo Varadkar led by example in support of organ donation when he attended the annual "Run for a Life" charity event organised by the Irish Kidney Association and sponsored by Astellas Pharma Co. Ltd.

This year's event which was held at Corkagh Park, Dublin 22 on October 18th last was supported by young and old ,of varying levels of fitness, who demonstrated their support for organ donation by walking, jogging or running competitively in either a chip timed 2.5km, 5km or 10k.

Speaking in advance of the event, Minister Leo Varadkar said, “I’m looking forward to the ‘Run for a Life’. People of all ages are taking part in support of people living with organ failure. I want to encourage more people to sign the organ donor card and help to save lives in the future.”

Jack Donegan from Tullamore, Co. Offaly being congratulated by Minister Varadkar after he received his medal for coming 3rd in the 5km race.

Race Organiser, Colin White said, "This year's Run For a Life was a great family day out. There were so many inspiring stories shared, the enthusiasm of our wonderful volunteers ensured that everyone enjoyed the experience and the support of Minister Varadkar helped give real prominence to the importance and value of organ donation and transplantation."

A large number of the members of the successful Irish team who participated in the 8th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Poland in August this year, took part in the Fun Run showcasing the success of organ donation. Also supporting the event was Prof. Jim Egan, Director, Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland, HSE. Urologist and kidney transplant recipient Ron Grainger took part in the event with his members of his family.

The main sponsor of the Run for a Life is Astellas Pharma Co. Ltd., and its  Sales and Marketing Director, Denis Fennelly said, “Astellas is proud to to be involved once again have with the Irish Kidney Association in Run for A Life 2014. Astellas is committed to Changing tomorrow for patients in Ireland; and raising awareness for organ donation has the potential to really change outcomes for people on transplant waiting lists. We enjoyed taking part in what was a fun day for all!”

Professor Jim Egan, Director of Organ Donation & Transplant Ireland, also participated in the days event.

Ned & Deirdre Crowe from Carrick-on-Suir, Co. Tipperary who took part in the fun run made history in April 2008 as they underwent the first spouse to spouse living donor kidney transplant in Ireland. After the transplant Deidre (the kidney donor), a mother of three boys decided to train to be a nurse. She is now a dialysis nurse at Waterford Regional Hospital.


Being put through their paces by broadcaster and avid runner Mary Kennedy at a photocall some weeks before the event, were Darragh O’Haire  (age 5) from Johnstown Bridge, Enfield  and Hugo Turley (age 3 1/2) from Castleknock, Dublin. Also in the photo: Darragh's sister Siofra and brother, Sean.

Both Darragh and Hugo had suffered kidney problems since birth.  Hugo received a living donor kidney transplant from his mother Helen Turley in April this year, and Darragh received a kidney transplant from a deceased donor in February last year. Ruth said "our extended family cannot express the immense gratitude we feel towards the family of the organ donor who we will never know but who has changed our lives in such a profound way.”

Mary Kennedy, ambassador for organ donation 2014, said, “as someone who enjoys jogging as a way of keeping fit, I believe that Run for a Life is a fantastic, fun and healthy way for the public to show their support for a very worthy cause. Being a native of Clondalkin, I relish the chance to return to Corkagh Park where I used to go running from a young age. I have known people who have been touched by organ donation. I think most people have known somebody who has suffered organ failure and how it has impacted on them and their loved ones. It can affect people of all ages. Children like Hugo and Darragh, who prior to their transplant operations faced uncertain futures, can now look forward to a normal childhood thanks to organ donation."

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