Belfast Telegraph

Transplant mother backs donor drive

A mother believed to be the first in the world to give birth after a triple transplant has called on the public to carry life-saving donor cards.

Cystic fibrosis sufferer Deirdre Roche Doherty paid tribute to the grieving families who donated her lung, heart and kidney, saying without them she would never have had her 13-month-old daughter Ruth.

The 34-year-old first underwent a gruelling double heart and lung transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London when she was just 19, and received a kidney in 2009 in Beaumont Hospital when her own was damaged by medication.

"I never thought I'd have children, but it was always in the back of my mind," said Mrs Roche Doherty, a secondary school teacher from Graignamanagh, Co Kilkenny.

"My consultant said I got my transplant to live my life so there was a possibility. We waited a year until after my kidney and then I was very lucky to get pregnant. It was fantastic. It's great having her. Life was a struggle but now I lead a normal life like anybody."

Anita Ainsworth is also celebrating the birth of her daughter Evey, now four months, after undergoing a successful double lung transplant. The mother-of-two was given just six months to live when she was diagnosed with a rare lung disease, LAM (lymphangioleiomyomatosis), which affects one in a million women.

"She's brilliant," said Ms Ainsworth, 34, from Tuam, Co Galway. "We never thought we'd have her. But now life is as normal as can be."

The mothers helped launched Organ Donor Awareness Week - from March 31 - which urges everyone to carry a donor card. The Irish Kidney Association is also calling for an Irish organ donor registry so the public can place themselves on an electronic database.

Last year there was a record 93 deceased organ donors in Ireland, with families consenting to donate 248 organs to critically ill patients. Some 27 living donor kidney transplants were also carried out.

Almost 2,800 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life away from hospital as a result of receiving organ transplants. But there are also more than 650 people in Ireland awaiting organ transplants.

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