Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness

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34th IKA Service of Remembrance

The 34th Annual Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving, honouring organ donors and their families, was attended by a congregation of close to 2,000 when it was held on Saturday last in Corpus Christi Church, Dublin 9.

Taking part in the Ecumenical Service were courageous families of deceased organ donors and living donors and grateful transplant recipients of heart, lungs, liver, kidney, pancreas and bone marrow.  Also attending the Service were members of the wider organ donation and transplant community, including donor and transplant coordinators and medical, surgical and nursing staff.

Twins, Lauren & Olivia Mahon (8) whose grandmother was a donor, with their mother, Jennifer from Ranelagh

This symbolic Service is a mixture of sadness and joy for the families of organ donors and transplant recipients alike.  For many donor families this unique Service has become an anniversary to both remember their loved ones, and for transplant recipients, the opportunity to honour and give thanks for the wonderful ‘gift of life’ they have received.

Martina (left) & Denis Goggin with Siobhan Brosnan and Bernie Nohilly, both Transplant Nurse Managers with the ODTI

This annual Ecumenical Service is organised by the Irish Kidney Association, and this year’s service  was led by Monsignor Martin O'Shea, Parish Priest of Corpus Christi Church, Archdeacon Gordon Linney, retired Archdeacon of the Church of Ireland, Dublin and Rector of St Paul's Glenageary, Reverend William Black, retired Rector of the Parish of Drumcondra, North Strand and St. Barnabas and Reverend Alan Boal, Minister at the Abbey Presbyterian Church in North inner city Dublin. All Clergy have faithfully participated in this unique Service for many years.

The concept for the Service evolved from a grieving organ donor mother who contacted the Association explaining her distress and sadness that her son’s organ donation had never been acknowledged. At the time there was no system in place at the Old Jervis Street Hospital to acknowledge and thank organ donors and their families.  In consultation with the then newly appointed National Transplant Co-ordinator, Phyllis Cunningham, it was decided that a Service be held to publicly acknowledge and recognise the courageous generosity of organ donors and their families. The inaugural Service, in 1986, had an attendance of 300 people in St Mary’s, Haddington Road, Ballsbridge which was the Association’s current Parish Church. Since then, the numbers have increased annually with an attendance close to 2000 people now attending from all over Ireland. 

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