A WESTMEATH woman will be ringing in the New Year with her brand new kidney – that she has named Alice.
Martina Guyett, who suffers from a hereditary kidney condition known as PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), underwent lifesaving surgery last month, which meant she could enjoy Christmas with her family.
The Claregalway native, 51, is sharing her story to support an Organ Donor Awareness campaign taking place over the festive season, organised by the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) and supported by Organ Donation Transplant Ireland (ODTI).
The campaign aims to encourage families, as they have gathered together or online for the festive season, to discuss organ donation and let their wishes be known.
Martina and other grateful transplant recipients and their families nationwide have been lighting candles over Christmas in memory of their organ donors who saved their lives.
The campaign was backed by restaurateur Sallyanne Clarke, the mother of a deceased donor who passed away at Christmas time and gave three strangers another chance at life.
Martina was diagnosed with PKD when she was 13-years-old. She told how she learned a lot about her illness by watching her mother manage her own.
Three other members of Martina’s family have also received organ transplants due to the hereditary condition.
She said: “I knew that managing my blood pressure and staying healthy and fit was key to me staving off dialysis for as long as possible.
“I tried to walk 5km every day and adhered to medical advice as much as possible.
“I worked at Regional Hospital Mullingar for almost 16 years, 4 years in the lab where I learned to monitor my kidney function and could see they were gradually coming to end stage.
“My late mother’s illness did not develop until she approached her fifties, just like me. She had two transplants and passed away at the age of 66 from cancer.
“My late uncle’s condition also didn’t progress until he was middle aged, and he had one transplant.
“However, my brother was only 28 when he received a kidney transplant, which thankfully is working still.”
Martina had been taken by surprise one morning in November when a call from Beaumont Hospital awoke her at 2.48am and told her to come up for her kidney transplant.
Martina was well used to the journey to Dublin as for fifteen months she had been attending St. Vincent’s University Hospital for haemodialysis treatment twice a week.
The HSE employee was driven to the capital promptly by her husband Eddie, who was forced to wait outside Beaumont due to Covid-19 restrictions.
However Martina was kept company by Niall O’Grady, whom she calls her transplant twin. The pair received a kidney from the same deceased donor.
Martina told how she named her new kidney Alice, after Alice in Wonderland.
She also named her failing kidneys Thelma and Louise, likening the organs to the characters in the movie who were ready to drive off a cliff.
‘NO IDEA HOW UNWELL I WAS’
Amidst the humour, Martina told how grateful she was and urged people to follow the Irish Kidney Association’s advice on discussing organ donation when they gather together at Christmas time.
She also reminded people to get a donor card or choose for code 115 to feature on their drivers licence.
Speaking about her transplant, Martina said: “I am over the moon, I feel on top of the world.
“The brain fog I had while on dialysis is gone and an unexpected consequence is that my eyesight has also improved since my transplant and it is all thanks to my donor.
“I had no idea how unwell I was until my kidney transplant showed me how well I could be. It is onwards and upwards now.
“Eddie, our children Averyl and Karl and I can look forward to celebrating Christmas together.”
Martina us running a fundraiser on Facebook for the Irish Kidney Association which will continue until January 1, 2021.
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or free text the word DONOR to 50050.
Alternatively, visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free digital organ donor card App to your phone.
Transplant News Sharing // “Kidney Transplants” – Google News from Source www.thesun.ie