‘We never heard of Jack’s condition it was a shock’

By Hayden Moore

A NURSE from Tallaght University Hospital whose son requires both a kidney and liver transplant will be a guest speaker at the Gift of Life Charity Ball in aid of the Irish Kidney Association next week.

The Gift of Life Charity Ball, which will take place in Castleknock Hotel next Friday evening, was organised to celebrate the donation of organs and to support children and adults with organ failure.

Michelle and Anthony ORiordan with their baby son Jack 2 compressorJack with his parents Michelle and Anthony

The week that Michelle O’Riordan, a nurse in Tallaght Hospital, gave birth to her son Jack, her and her husband Anthony were told that he has a rare genetic disorder called Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD).

ARPKD is identified by the growth of cysts on the kidneys, liver and other organs meaning that Jack has issues stabilising his blood pressure because of the enlargement of his kidneys.

Jack, who is now three-years-old, has been a patient in Temple Street Children’s Hospital since the week he was born and because his disease progression is unpredictable, he is unable to go in to the transplant waiting pool.

Requiring a combined liver and kidney transplant in Birmingham, England, Jack’s mother has spoken of how her family are happy to play their part in raising organ donor awareness.

“My family are delighted to support the Charity Ball and play our part in helping to increase organ donor awareness,” said Michelle, who lives in Longwood, Meath with her husband Anthony, little Jack and his younger brother Miles.

“We had never heard of Jack’s condition, ARPKD, before he was diagnosed after birth and nor did we know anyone who had a transplant or needed one despite my work as a nurse.

Michelle ORiordan and her son Jack compressor

Michelle with her son Jack

“It was a huge shock to us. He spent almost all of his first year in hospital trying to stabilise his high blood pressure which when it peaks it affects his heart and poses a threat of stroke and heart attack.

“His enlarged kidneys which are covered in cysts make it more difficult to control his blood pressure. Jack has to take several blood pressure medications daily to combat this.

“His disease progression is unpredictable and his condition can become critical very quickly.

“Jack is a patient at both Crumlin and Temple Street hospitals where he is under the wonderful expert care of cardiology, renal and liver staff who try to keep his condition under control and get him to the point where he will be able to go on the transplant waiting list.”

Organised by kidney recipient Sarah Dalton and her kidney donor husband Conor, the black-tie charity ball is set to be attended by over 200 guests with a whole host of entertainment on the night.

With proceeds raised from the event going to the Irish Kidney Association (IKA), there will also be an auction on the night that will raise funds to support a children’s transplant sports programme that is being developed to benefit transplant children and teenagers who receive care from Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin and Temple Street.

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