Belfast Telegraph

Wife was perfect match for life-saving transplant

Couple made amazing discovery in frantic search for kidney donor

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

Patrick and Noreen McGreevy have been married for 16 years but the bond they share is closer than most.

After being diagnosed with an inherited kidney disease from his father, Patrick became dangerously unwell and required a kidney transplant.

The 45-year-old from Dromore has a rare blood type so for over four years he waited for a donor but never received a phonecall.

But, in January, his wife Noreen (36) made the extraordinary discovery that to her amazement she was an exact match. The chances of the two being genetically matched were extremely thin.

"I had thought about going for the test years ago, but we have three children and they were very young at the time," said Noreen.

"I had the test in January and got the results in March. When the consultant said I was an exact match, I couldn't believe it, I just started to shake and it all happened very quickly after that.

"It was a big risk, it's a big operation, but at Christmas it was just starting to get to him – mentally, physically and emotionally he was very down and very withdrawn," she added.

While Patrick was overjoyed at the news, he admits he had reservations about his wife undergoing the risky operation.

He said: "I was nervous for her more than for myself. I was excited but at the same time but I didn't know whether to accept it off my wife or not in case something happened her."

But, on June 6, Patrick and Noreen made the life-changing journey to Belfast City Hospital.

The following day Noreen went in to surgery at 8.30am and was followed by Patrick at 1.30pm.

Although the pair are still in slight pain as they recover from their procedures, they say that their whole life is transformed.

Noreen said: "The transformation is like night and day, when you live in a house with someone who is constantly sick.

"The children didn't know their daddy as being 'well'. They always saw him tired or sick or just not at himself.

"We couldn't go away on holidays, they saw him being sick in the morning before he went to work or falling asleep at his dinner at the table, with no energy whatsoever.

"We went on holiday for seven days with our children Aisling (14), Owen (13) and Michael (11), and for our house, to have a block of days with no treatment or hospital appointments, it was just amazing."

Noreen said of the disease: "It's really tough, it's upsetting and it's draining. Your life revolves around dialysis."

However, the couple are now enjoying their new life.

"To have that all gone is a weight off your shoulders. It's an amazing feeling," added Noreen.

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