Life begins at 42 for a Galway couple who recover after a successful cross-border kidney-swap operation.
Own Madden (42) and his wife Michelle Tuhr (42) of Kiltullagh, from Galway, this year became the first Irish couple to participate in a paired kidney exchange program through HSE’s Treatment Abroad Fund.
The programme, in collaboration with Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital and Belfast City Hospital, and the NHS in the UK, prompted Ms Tuhr to donate a kidney to a recipient in the UK, while her husband – who has had two previous kidney transplants – received The third kidney was found on 4 January from a donor in the UK.
talking to independent.ie From Belfast, where he is recovering from a successful transplant, Mr Madden said he has been given a new lease of life.
“I’m fine today. I’m still a little sad because it was major surgery but I’m out of the hospital,” he said.
Besides, he feels like he has won the lottery.
Because of the build-up of antibodies from the previous two transplants, the chances were one in a million that she would find a suitable donor.
And while his wife was expecting him to donate her kidney, it was not a suitable match.
On the advice of Dr Colm Magee, a consultant at Beaumont Hospital, the couple agreed to enter a coupled exchange program in the UK, where there was a large pool of donors. They were able to find one during the first of four annual cycles to find a match.
“We hit the jackpot first,” he said.
To celebrate his successful transplant, the first thing he did was a bar of chocolate, which he had been forbidden to eat for the past five years, while he was undergoing dialysis treatment.
“One of the first things I had was Wispa, I’ve been craving one for the past five years,” he said.
The couple are now looking forward to spending more family time with their three children Una (3), Aoife (10) and Diremaid (7) who had to stay at home since early December due to the risk of covid, while their parents- Father was waiting. his surgery.
“I was so sick on dialysis. It keeps you alive but you don’t move on. It’s like having another job,” Madden said, as he exhausted after playing for a few hours with his kids. Were.
But now the couple are hoping to go swimming with their kids at a family vacation in Center Parks later this year.
Ms. Tuhar says that they are taking things slowly now, but they are going for walks every day.
“Day by day we are feeling better,” she said. “We’re excited. We know our lives will change for the better. It’s a whole new lease on the whole family.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Madden said he is eternally grateful to the donors who have helped extend his life.
“Organ donation is truly the gift of life. I am now older because of three donors. I will always be youngerFilled with the selfless families of two deceased donors who gave me many additional years of better health and allowed me to enjoy wonderful experiences including marrying my beautiful wife, as well as giving me three beautiful children, who is now a hero kidney You have become a donor.”
Ms. Tohar said: “It has been an incredible experience and we are both very relieved that Ion’s transplant was successful. We are extremely excited by the well wishes and support from so many.
“Both Eoin’s family and my family have stood firm in his continued support and he has given us his time very freely and caring for his children as we recover from our surgery.
“We now hope that we will all be reunited as a family soon. Our children can now see their father for the first time enjoy renewed health away from the restrictions of dialysis.”
Meanwhile, Carol Moore, chief executive of the Irish Kidney Association, said: “We are delighted to have Eoin and Michelle. This is a wonderful example of how successful cross-border collaboration can be through HSE treatment planning abroad.”