Shane’s life-saving gesture

It was a case of third time lucky when a 29-year-old Midlands Garda came to the rescue to give the ultimate pre-wedding gift to his ailing fiancée, a soon to be qualified art teacher, when he donated a kidney to her on Monday, 22nd of June.

The couple are sharing their good news to offer hope to the hundreds of other families with loved ones in organ failure on transplant waiting lists as the kidney transplant programme has resumed at Beaumont Hospital following its suspension in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Five years ago when Briona Reynolds discovered she had kidney disease, she could never have known that her boyfriend, Shane Hunter, from Athlone, would ultimately give her the gift of life.

Briona no longer has to undergo three times weekly haemodialysis treatment at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore. The couple can now look forward to a bright future together as they are now recovering following their successful living donor transplant operations at the home they share in Briona’s native Tubber in Co. Offaly. They are now turning their attention to planning for their wedding in July 2021 at the nearby Mount Druid.

Beaumont Hospital had already suspended transplant operations before the country went into lockdown on 27th of March – including Briona and Shane’s operations, scheduled to take place on 23rd of March. This would be their second disappointment, as a previous date for transplant (3rd of February), had also been cancelled due to safety concerns as a result of Shane’s blood results showing irregularities at the time.

By February, Briona’s kidney function had almost fully declined and she then had no option but to commence haemodialysis treatment in order to keep her alive.

Speaking from his home, eleven days post-surgery, Shane commented: “For the last number of years I’ve seen Briona struggle with the complications of having kidney failure and so when I was given the opportunity to get tested for kidney donation I was eager to help but also nervous that I might not be a match. Thankfully, both of us are doing great and recovering well”.

Briona said: “I was so grateful when both Shane and my mam went forward to be tested to be living donors knowing that not everyone gets this opportunity and many are reliant on the uncertainty of a deceased donor kidney becoming available. I honestly don’t think it has fully sunk in yet that Shane has donated his kidney to me and I’ll never know how to fully thank him.

“I’d like to thank Shane’s parents, Norman and Sharon Hunter, who now live in Dysart, Co. Roscommon and my mam and dad, Gina and Frank Reynolds, for their loving support throughout my health journey”.

* Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050.