Davis family urge you to carry donor card

This article is from page 29 of the 2011-03-29 edition of The Clare People. OCR mistakes are to be expected so download the original SWF or the rendered page 29 JPG

MARY Davis is seven years on dialysis. Three nights a week the mother of four travels from her home in Ennistymon to Limerick for the life saving procedure, which cleans her blood and allows her some form of normality.

She also has to strictly monitor her lifestyle, diet and liquid intake, making her beloved cup of tea a rare treat rather than the norm.

But living with renal failure isn’t the biggest heartache for this north Clare woman, as she must also watch and care for three of her four children who face a similar fate.

Mary’s two younger sons, Garry and Stefan, as well as her daughter, Victoria, all share their mother’s condition – Alporte Syndrome.

This rare condition leads to renal failure, leaving the patient relying on dialysis and eventually the hope of a transplant.

For Garry the gift of a transplant has already become a reality.

His mother Mary is through most of her “work up tests” and will hopefully be put on a transplant list soon. It could take another year or two before she will receive a precious kidney, but the process gives her hope.

Her youngest son Stefan is now in the later stages of pre-dialysis, and is expected to begin dialysis as early as July.

For Victoria the wait will hopefully be longer as, although she has the condition that will eventually see her life also become reliant on dialysis and a transplant, it is hoped that is a few years away yet.

Despite the health difficulties facing her family Mary Davis is a very optimistic woman, looking to hope rather than despair.

Above all she remains grateful to a family that in a time of grief gave her son the gift of a kidney.

Garry was 18 years old when he received his transplant – six years after he was first diagnosed with the condition.

Now aged 25 he hasn’t looked back since, as his quality of life has improved and he acts as a catalyst of hope for his family.

Describing the donor family as “fantastic people” his mother said, “The morning Garry was called the first thing I thought was, while it was great joy for us, you think of the other family in their time of distress.

“You are very aware of the people who are grieving and think of them often and have a Mass said,” she added.

Making her way towards the transplant list seven years after dialysis and almost 20 years after she first became sick, Mary said she has hope.

”It gives you a new lease of life,” she said.

“The initial shock is awful when you are first diagnosed, but you get on with it. Your health improves with dialysis and if you do what you are told you can lead a reasonably good life.”

Mary first began to feel unwell after the birth of her last child 20 years ago. However shortly afterwards her second youngest child also began to complain of ear and kidney infections, and her priority became his well-being.

Doctors were mystified as to what was wrong with the little boy, and it was only when Stefan, her youngest, began to have similar problems at the age of seven, that both boys were diagnosed with Alporte Syndrome.

Mary was soon diagnosed with the condition as well, and after all of the family were tested, Victoria also got the news that she too had the rare condition.

This family would have to learn to live with renal failure and the harrowing fall out.

Garry who was 12 at the time of this news was the first and so far only member of the family to receive a transplant six and a half years later.

“A transplant is a wonderful gift of life, especially for younger people,” said Mary.

This is the very generous gift that Clare branch of the Irish Kidney Association is hoping more people will sign up to give during Organ Donation Week – beginning this Saturday.

Organ donor cards are available free by texting the word DONOR to 50050. Cards can also be acquired at doctor surgeries and pharmacies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *