How a kind uncle’s kidney donation gave a future husband from Limerick his life back

A Limerick man who was given a kidney by his uncle said the act of love and kindness gave him his life back.

rian Sheehy (33) from Athea, Co. Limerick was born in Melbourne and shortly after birth was diagnosed with posterior urethral valve syndrome, which blocks urine flow and damages the kidneys.

When he was three his family returned to Ireland and he spent much of his childhood and early adolescence at Crumlin Children’s Hospital as he had complications with his condition and had one of his kidneys removed.

In August 2005, Mr. Sheehy’s late brother Patrick was just 18 years old when he became an organ donor after a tragic traffic accident, saving six lives.

Brian was just 16 at the time and a month later, in September 2005, he received his first kidney transplant, made possible by the decision of another family of a deceased organ donor.

In August 2014, after three years on dialysis, Mr Sheehy received a second kidney transplant thanks to his Uncle Mike (54) who donated the organ to him.


Brian Sheehy and his uncle Mike at Beaumont Hospital Dublin in 2014.

Mike Sheehy, a father of three from Listowel in Co Kerry, said he was aware of Brian’s health problems and wanted to help.

“Although I didn’t see Brian very much as a kid because I was busy raising my family in another county, I was aware of his plight and all and I was happy to get tested as a living kidney donor. It was an honor to be able to donate a kidney to him and I want to thank my wife Rose for her entire support in this decision,” he said.

Brian, who works as a clerk in local government, met his future Sarah Reidy while studying for an undergraduate degree in Information Technology at the Tralee Institute of Technology.

The couple welcomed daughter Kayla, 11, a few years later, and after his uncle Mike’s kidney donation, the couple bought their own home together.

Brian and Sarah will be married at Sarah’s Parish Church in Ardagh, County Limerick, over the bank holiday weekend in June before later traveling to Portugal for their honeymoon.

They are joined at the wedding by their extended family and friends, including their daughter Kayla and her kidney donor uncle Mike, his wife Rose and their three children Laura, Mairead and Rosie, and Brian’s parents Margaret and Richard.


Brian Sheehy, Athea is pictured with his fiancee Sarah and they are holding a photo of Brian’s late brother Patrick.

Mr Sheehy said the transplant was transformative for him and his family.

“I feel on top of the world now and I have Mike to thank for that. The transplant gave me my life back. It has allowed me to go back to work, save for a house with Sarah, plan ahead and play an active role in my daughter’s life,” he said.

“The whole extended family will be attending our wedding reception in June. As we exchange vows three candles will be lit, one candle will be for the late donor who gave me back my life as a teenager and we will also remember my brother Patrick and have a picture of him at our wedding reception. We’ll also raise a glass to Mike who brought me to this point.

Mr Sheehy shared his story of organ donation and how it has changed his life as part of Donor Awareness Week (23-30 April) organized by the Irish Kidney Association in partnership with Organ Donation Transplant Ireland which ends tomorrow , told.

People who want to support organ donation are encouraged to “share their wishes” and keep reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card with them, having the code 115 put on their driver’s license, or the digital organ donor card app on their have smart phones.

Organ donor cards can be requested from the Irish Kidney Association website, call the association on 01 6205306 or text the word SPENDER free of charge to 50050. How a kind uncle’s kidney donation gave a future husband from Limerick his life back

Fry Electronics Team

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