I was born with a rare condition known as Prune Belly Syndrome.
In 2001 my life changed in a way that up until then, I could only dream and pray for.One of the many effects of this rare condition is that the bladder loses its ability to function properly. This causes urine to travel back up to the kidneys. This is known as kidney re-flux. The first few years of my life saw me undergo no less than thirteen major surgeries. At age four my then Urologist, Prof. Denis O'Sullivan decided that the only way to save my life would be to replace my bladder with a urostomy. This is an external pouch that acts as a type of artificial bladder. Even at this stage, my kidneys were extremely damaged and my future was uncertain.
In the years following, kidney infections became a regular occurrence and my kidneys became more damaged. At age 28 (1996) I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure and was put on a renal diet. The aim of this was to take pressure away from the kidneys by controlling the amount of toxins the body was taking in. This worked for a few years but Dialysis was inevitable. Doctors recommended hemodialysis. This was my lifeline for just under three years but during this time I developed various complications such as vein damage (thrombosis) and eventually "septicemia".
A kidney transplant would now be my only chance of survival.
Through all of this, the only thing keeping my spirits going was my wife Sandra. She was there twenty-four-seven making sure I stuck to the diet and took my medication etc. Every ache and pain was felt as much by Sandra as it was by me. She was a constant friend as well as companion.
Having been on the Transplant Pool for only seven weeks we got the phone call we really didn't ever think we’d receive. Beaumont Hospital in Dublin was where I was transplanted and within a few weeks was back home. It's now eight years on and my life since my transplant has been unbelievable.
Not a day goes by that Sandra and myself don't think about the gift of a second chance at life that I have received. We are always aware that someone had to die in order for me to stay alive. Although we will never know any details about them or their family, we are forever truly grateful.
We also include a poem he wrote after his transplant in the poetry section in our ‘Words of Comfort’ page.