Big-hearted cop and youngster able to finally get together seven weeks after surgery
A big-hearted organ donor policeman has at last been able to meet the boy whose life his kidney saved
Seven weeks ago PSNI Chief Inspector Graham Dodds underwent surgery to give one of his kidneys to Fermanagh boy Joshua Dolan (9), after mum Mary had appealed to the public for a live donor for her son when all other avenues failed.
Graham responded to Mary’s appeal, and tests showed his organ was an almost perfect match for the youngster.
As a police officer for 23 years, he is dedicated to serving the public, and he saw the chance to donate an organ to Joshua as a very practical way to help someone.
Joshua was born with only one kidney and that was performing at a minimal capacity, which meant he had to endure regular dialysis.
Even with that, doctors had warned his mother that his life was limited.
Surgeons removed Graham’s left kidney at Belfast City Hospital and rushed it to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where Joshua was prepped and ready for the medical team there to carry out the transplant.
The two had not been able to meet until now, in order to protect Joshua from potential infection after the gruelling operation.
Speaking to the BBC, the youngster thanked the policeman for all he had done.
“I’m proud of Graham for helping me,” the little boy said.
Graham said: “It’s a big operation, you’re in surgery for four hours, and you really feel that when you come out.
"But it is something I had no hesitation doing.
“I feel it’s one of the best things I’ve done in my police career.”
Speaking previously to the Belfast Telegraph after her son’s operation, Mary said: “If I was to say ‘thank you’ to Graham 1,000 times, it wouldn’t be enough, but he knows how much we appreciate what he has done.
“He has saved Joshua’s life. It is as plain and simple as that.
“Without Graham I don’t know what would have happened to Joshua, because the tests that were done showed no one in the family had a kidney that was a good enough match.”
Mary added that Graham is now her son’s hero.
“Joshua has always been obsessed with the police and it has been his ambition to be a police officer, so it is such a wonderful coincidence that Graham is a police officer,” she said.
“Joshua was encouraged to give his kidney a name, and he chose ‘Hero’ — because he said Graham is his hero.”
The policeman urged others to consider being a donor.
“Joshua is an example of what can be achieved through organ donation,” he said.
“You literally save the lives of people who would not be here otherwise.”