We need to talk about organ donation
Maria Pepper outlines Wexford events for Organ Donor Awareness Week and profiles the lives of three Wexford people who have had kidney transplants or undergone dialysis
Irish Kidney Association volunteers will be distributing organ donor cards and selling forget-me-not flower emblems in various locations around County Wexford during Organ Donor Awareness Week from March 30 to April 6.
The annual initiative is held to increase public awareness about the importance of organ donation and a to raise funds for the Kidney Association which assists and supports hundreds of dialysis and transplant patients and their families throughout the country.
On Saturday, March 30, volunteers will be out in force at Tesco in New Ross and Aldi supermarkets in New Ross, Wexford, Enniscorthy and Gorey.
On Thursday, April 4, they will be at Pettitts SuperValu in St. Aidan's Shopping Centre, Wexford and the Centra store in Irishtown, New Ross.
On Friday, April, organ donor events will be held at Pettitt's SuperValu in St. Aidan's and on Saturday, April 6, at Pettitt's SuperValu, St. Aidan's and Wallace's SuperValu in Wellingtonbridge.
The well-known radio and television presenter Ray D'Arcy is this year's ambassador for organ donor awareness week, having taken over the baton from Claire Byrne who fronted last year's campaign. Ray previously served as ambassador two decades ago.
Under the campaign slogan # Have the Chat, Organ Donor Awareness Week 2019 is encouraging the public to support organ donation for transplantation by letting loved ones know their wishes and to keep a reminder of their decision visible by carrying the organ donor card and permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver's licence or downloading the 'digital organ donor card' APP to their smartphone.
Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association, Mark Murphy said the organisation is delighted to have Ray D'Arcy lending his support again after first fronting the annual campaign 21 years ago.
The IKA is the organisation responsible for the promotion and distribution of the organ donor card in Ireland through Organ Donation and Transplant Ireland (ODTI), the organ procurement service of the HSE.
The association's charitable activities include the provision of a 13-double bedroom, free accommodation facility for patients and their families in the grounds of Beaumont Hospital with plans under way for the development of a similar facility at Cork University Hospital.
Patients, who would otherwise be unable to travel on family holidays due to the constraints of dialysis treatment, can avail of IKA holiday centres in Tramore, Killarney and Tralee.
The association also provides patient advocacy, advice, counselling, financial aid and health promotion through sport and the provision of kidney patient information and education through its head office in Dublin and its 25-branch network of volunteers nationwide, including Wexford.
There are approximately 550 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving heart, lung,liver, kidney and pancreas transplants and thanks to the gift of organ donation, almost 4,000 transplanted people in Ireland are enjoying extended life.