Brave dad’s life-changing gift of a kidney to his son

By Mary Dennehy

LOCAL councillor Ronan McMahon has called for more awareness around organ donation, just days after he gave his 20-year-old son the life-changing gift of a kidney.

Living in Templeogue with his wife Cathy and five children, Cllr McMahon’s son Eoghan was diagnosed with a progressive kidney disease called FSGS (focal segmental glomerulosclerosis) when he was only ten-years-old. The former Terenure College student has been on dialysis for the past 18 months.

Ronan McMahon  Eoghan Beaumont July 2016

Over that time, Eoghan sat his Leaving Certificate and got through his first year in NCAD (National College of Art and Design) despite travelling to Beaumont Hospital three times a week for dialysis.

Cllr McMahon told The Echo: “Six months ago, Eoghan was put on the organ donor list, but we knew how life-changing a kidney would be for him, so myself and Cathy got tested. 

“I was pretty much a perfect match and as a parent giving a kidney to one of their children, there was no decision to be made.

“It was an amazing gift to be able to give Eoghan, a gift which will give him a whole new lease of life.”

Since the operation on June 27, Cllr McMahon and his son Eoghan have returned home and are both in recovery – with Eoghan having to make regular trips back to the hospital for check-ups.

“It’s still early days for Eoghan,” Cllr McMahon said.

“However, he is getting on well and is delighted with his new kidney and the new quality of life it will bring.

“I really feel privileged and honoured to have been able to give the gift of a live donation, all it cost was a few weeks out of a busy life.
“I would encourage anyone to consider it, especially if they have a friend of family member who needs a kidney.

“The consultants will not let you go through with it unless you have a full clean bill of health.”

Cllr McMahon, who is an ongoing supporter of the Irish Kidney Association (IKA), stressed the need for more awareness around kidney donation – and the role that the Government needs to play.

He said: “We can survive and live healthy lives on one kidney and people should be made aware that they may be in a position to change the life of a family member or friend.

“I think the Government has a role to play here, and I don’t know why they’re not making people aware.

“It costs €60,000 per year to keep a person on dialysis while a kidney transplant costs around €25,000.

“So, alongside greatly improving the quality of life of a dialysis patient and their family, which is the primary concern and something that you cannot put a price on, kidney donation can also save the health service millions of euro.

“If 100 people came off dialysis it would save the state €6m per year – that’s €30 million in five years.”

On the issue of carrying donor cards, Cllr McMahon said: “I know it can be a very hard and sensitive topic to talk about but people should be encouraged to have a conversation with their family about organ donation if it is something that they want to do.

“It’s important to carry a donor card, but people need to talk with their family as well, because next of kin will always be consulted.

“We need to start a conversation on organ donation and also encourage the sharing of information, because currently when a person ticks organ donor on their driving licence this information is not shared with the Department of Health.”

Cllr Mahon, who is a member of Renua, has encouraged people to visit ww.ika.ie for further information or to find out how to support the organisation.

He has also thanked his wife Cathy, family, friends and work colleagues at Snap Printing for their support in recent weeks. Visit www.ika.ie

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