Former Roscommon hurler David Beirne and his wife Irene Nestor were forced to defer their honeymoon in July 2017 due to David’s ongoing haemodialysis treatment. However, a deceased donor made it possible for David to undergo a kidney transplant in May 2018 and the couple set off on their honeymoon a year later than planned – with Irene pregnant at the time with their “miracle baby”.
The couple welcomed baby Ailbhe Beirne into the world just seven days before the beginning of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2019 (which ran from March 30th to April 6th). Ailbhe was born on March 23rd last and the family can now look forward to a bright future as David has regained full health.
David has also recently joined Transplant Team Ireland and will represent Ireland at the 2020 European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships which will be held in Dublin August 2020 and which will include close to 500 participants from all over Europe.
David said: “When people ask me about how the transplant has changed my life I explain that I never asked for a new life, I only ever wanted my old life back. I thought the best day of my life after my wedding day was when my transplant came along making it possible for myself and Irene to plan ahead and not live our lives around relentless dialysis treatment. But when Ailbhe arrived that was by far the best day of our lives. We feel blessed and all our happiness was all made possible because of the family of my deceased donor.
“This selfless decision to donate by a family who have lost a loved one has given me and other people with organ failure and our families a chance for a better quality of life and a chance to be able to plan for the future”.
A week prior to his kidney failure diagnosis in October 2013 David first met his sweetheart Irene, who is from Brownsgrove, Tuam, Co. Galway. He says Irene has been a huge support to him since his diagnosis, treatment and recovery.
Prior to his diagnosis, David had always carried an organ donor card and signed the back of his driving licence to be an organ donor.
The avid hurler and member of St. Dominic’s GAA Club had originally visited his GP when his ankle became swollen after he refereed a camogie match a few days previously. His doctor carried out blood tests which revealed that David’s creatinine levels were very high, signalling kidney failure.
David gave up playing with St. Dominic’s since commencing dialysis but his passion for hurling has not waned and he took on the role of selector for the club before becoming a manager in 2016. He also served as PRO and chairperson of the hurling committee and although not as involved now, he hopes to return soon.
David works as a part-time farmer and mechanic and helps one of his three brothers, Shane, on the family’s sheep and suckler farm. His parents are John and Patricia Beirne and he has three brothers. Irene is a schoolteacher.
* Organ Donor cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or free text the word DONOR to 50050.