Son sacrifices sport to donate kidney to mother
on 21/01/2013 00:00:00
The rare son-to-mother transplant will mean that, for a while, Alan will give up his weekend five-a-side tournaments and his stints at the gym.
Trainee accountant Alan, 26, who will spend at least three months recovering after the operation, said: "Once it was found that my kidneys were the closest match for my mother in a live transplant, I knew I was going to do it.
"In my mind, it wasn't a big thing. Mum loves to go for walks after work and she was missing out on those recently because she was tired. She also wants to go swimming and running so, to do that, she has to get over her loss of energy."
Alan loves to play up to three hours of soccer every weekend in friendly five-a-side tournaments organised among 20 friends. He will give that up for the three months he spends recovering.
"They have told me I can't do anything strenuous for three months, so the football and the gym are out for a bit," he said. "It's not a big deal - I just won't be active for a little while."
Doctors have told Alan he will live a completely normal life on one kidney, and Alan says he will cope. "I have one heart and one liver and I get along fine with those, so why not one kidney?"
Helena, 50, who is chief executive officer at B&B Ireland, explained that her kidneys began to deteriorate in 1996 after taking medication for a minor complaint.
With her kidneys functioning at 20%, she was able to live a normal life until 18 months ago, when they started deteriorating further and she was put on dialysis.
Helena, who lives in Glencar, Co Leitrim, opted to go on dialysis every night for eight hours at home instead of paying three visits per week to hospital.
She went on the kidney transplant list, and doctors at Sligo General Hospital encouraged her to consider live donation. Her sisters were considered, as was her husband Pat, but Alan's kidney was the closest match.
"The closer the match, the longer the transplanted kidney will last, so Alan insisted on being the donor," said Helena.
"I must confess I felt a bit guilty about it and I still do. I would much rather that I was a donor for my son. But Alan is very cool about it. It's his attitude that he has to do this so I can live a healthy life."
"He's had his full MOT; he's 26, he's young and fit and that offers a little bit of reassurance."
* Alan and Helena talked about next Monday's operation because they want to promote the Irish Kidney Association's search for donors. Anyone who wishes to be a donor only has to text "donor" to 50050 to receive an organ donor card.