‘I’m forever grateful to the organ donor who gave me the gift of life’

On Organ Donation Week, one woman explains how a double transplant saved her life

Transplant recipient Rachel O'Hora with surgeons Dr David Healy, Dr Tom Gallagher and and Dr Emir Hoti

Amy Blaney

An organ transplant recipient in Dublin has said she is “grateful for the gift of life” after receiving a pancreas and a kidney from a stranger last year.

Rachel O’Hora, originally from Mayo and now living in Blackrock, underwent the combined organ transplant in St Vincent’s Hospital last year after suffering with numerous health issues.

“I will forever be grateful to my donor for the gift they have given me,” said Ms O’Hora.

“Before my transplant, I faced numerous health challenges and the daily struggles of managing a chronic illness.

“The transplant not only saved my life but also restored my hope and quality of life.”

As Organ Donation Week draws to a close, the 40-year-old is encouraging the public to register as organ donors and discuss donation with their families.

“My experience highlights the vital importance of organ donation,” she said.

“I am a living testament to the power of organ donation, and I will forever be grateful to my donor for the gift they have given me.

“I encourage everyone to reflect on the incredible impact they can make by registering as organ donors and discussing their wishes with their families.”

Organ transplantation has been saving lives in Ireland for the past six decades and more than 5,000 people in the country are enjoying an extended life because of transplants.

However, an ongoing shortage of organs has led to long waiting lists, with consequences for patients.

There are currently about 600 people active on waiting lists for organ transplants in Ireland, including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.

“I am incredibly grateful for the gift of life that I received through a combined pancreas and kidney transplant,” said Ms O’Hora.

“Organ Donation Awareness Week will now hold a special place in my heart as it gives me the opportunity to express my deep appreciation to the selfless donor and their family who made this life-changing decision.”

Dr Tom Gallagher, Consultant at St Vincent's Hospital said the need for organ donors is “urgent”, and the demand is outweighing supply.

“We recognise the incredible advancements that have been made and the countless lives that have been saved,” he said.

“However, the need for organ donors remains urgent and the demand for organs far outweighs the supply, leading to long waiting lists and heart-breaking outcomes for many.

“Every day, countless lives hang in the balance as patients wait for life-saving transplants.

“As a transplant surgeon, I witness the profound impact that organ donation has on patients and their families.”

Dr Emir Hoti said between 50 to 60 liver transplants and between six to eight pancreas transplants are performed at St Vincent’s every year.

“I have witnessed the transformative power of organ donation first-hand,” he said.

“Each donated organ has the potential to save a life, restore hope, and bring joy to families in their darkest moments.”

Those interested in becoming an organ donor can request an organ donor card on www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card and are encouraged to share their wishes to their loved ones.

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