Anne's sister gave the gift of a kidney
SISTERLY squabbles between Anne O'Connor and her sibling Margaret Murphy often turn a little surreal.
'We'd have an argument and I'd say to her, "I suppose you want the kidney back",' laughed Anne, who admits her sister gave her the ultimate gift 24 years ago when she donated one of her organs.
Anne (née Fanning) from Talbot Green, Wexford, was 23 years of age, and had just given birth to her second daughter, Pamela, when she was told she'd require a life-saving kidney transplant.
Her kidney failure was diagnosed during her pregnancy, and when a premature Pamela was born at seven months, Anne began her arduous 13 months on dialysis.
'I would have to catch the 8 a.m. train to Jervis Street in Dublin three times a week, and I'd get home at 9 p.m. It was exhausting, especially when I had two small children, but my mother Breda was brilliant during that time,' she said.
Anne's sister Margaret and brother Séamus were both tested as potential kidney donors for Anne, and it was Margaret, who lives in Gulbar Road, who came back as an exact match.
'It was just before Christmas and I can remember feeling relief, but also had mixed emotions because I was worried for Margaret. It's supposed to be worse for the donor than the recipient in those cases,' she said.
'Margaret made a huge sacrifice for me. I've never looked back. I'm able to do everything now. I've never been inside a hospital, since the day I walked out of it, with a problem with my kidneys,' she said.
Anne has amazingly had her kidney 24 years and it's still going strong.
It's unusual for donated organs to stand such a long test of time, and often recipients require a second transplant after 15 or 16 years.
'I'm still going strong. This kidney has given me back my life.'