‘Two members of our family are alive because of two organ donors’

By Aideen O'Flaherty

ORGAN transplant donors and recipients put their best foot forward at the Irish Kidney Association’s annual Run for a Life event in Corkagh Park on Saturday, May 19, where walkers, joggers and runners took on either a 2.5km, 5km or 10km challenge.

Lucan men Ken Mulkerrins (38) and his brother-in-law Joseph Dunne (42), who received a heart transplant and a kidney transplant respectively, were among the throngs of people at the starting line of the run, as was kidney transplant recipient Peter Pardoe (65) from Clondalkin.

Heart Transplant recipient

Heart transplant recipient Ken Mulkerrins from Lucan with his wife Pamela and children Conor and Kate

Ken has been a long-time supporter of Run for a Life, and his family has been involved every year since the event first began ten years ago, to celebrate his brother-in-law Joseph’s successful kidney transplant, which he received when he was 25-years-old.

The athletic family man then unexpectedly needed a heart transplant, which he successfully underwent two years ago, cementing his involvement in and appreciation for organ donation awareness.

Ken told The Echo: “Getting the heart transplant now means I’m at full exercise capability. It felt great to be at Run for a Life – it was brilliant.

“My family were overjoyed to see me exercising, and it was hugely important for me to be involved in the race, it’s a great cause and it raises awareness of organ donation.

“I would encourage people to have a chat with their family about their wishes when it comes to organ donation.

Generosity

“Two members of our family are alive today because of the generosity of two organ donors.”

Kidney transplant recipient Peter Pardoe, who was accompanied by his family at the event, was rearing to go and took part as a way of showing his gratitude for receiving the successful transplant five years ago, after suffering a “long drawn out process” as he became ill with kidney failure.

Peter told The Echo: “When I got the call telling me that I was getting the transplant I broke down crying.

“I had been very sick before the transplant, and I had been on dialysis for seven weeks before I got it.

“I didn’t have diabetes or heart issues so I was considered a good candidate for a kidney transplant. I waited for seven months before I got it.”

Second chance

He added: “It was important for me to get involved in Run for a Life in terms of giving back. I’m grateful for a second chance and without it I wouldn’t be here.

“It’s important to outwardly appreciate what others have done for you.”

There was also a strong showing from members of local athletics clubs at the race, which saw Tallaght Athletics Club member Garrett O’Keefe, from Kilnamanagh, being the first person to cross the finish line of the 5km race, while Glenview man Stephen Kavanagh secured third place in the same race.

Members of Lucan Harriers also participated in the race.

Run for a Life Race organiser, Colin White, said: “Our annual Run for a Life is a great day out for all of the family.

“It is fantastic that the sun shone throughout this year’s event and that almost 500 people, including transplant recipients and their families and friends from all over the country, turned up to support it.

“The Irish Kidney Association sees this charity fundraiser as a positive way to promote organ donor awareness.

“The loyal support for this event is wonderful with many making it a feature on their annual calendar.”

For more information on Run for a Life you can visit their website here, and to find out more about the Irish Kidney Association and organ donation you can visit www.ika.ie

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