A bride who recently married her childhood sweetheart has described the experience of receiving a kidney transplant from her future husband two years before her big day.
Art teacher Briona Reynolds (30) from Tubber in Co. Offaly married Garda Shane Hunter (31) from Athlone, Co. Westmeath over the August bank holiday weekend.
Like many other couples who have faced delays in their wedding plans due to Covid-19, they postponed their wedding, which was due to take place last summer.
However, the couple – who have been together for 13 years – also had to consider Ms Reynold’s health issues as she suffered from kidney failure.
It was a third stroke of luck for the couple when their living-donor kidney transplant finally went ahead in June 2020.
Beaumont Hospital had suspended transplant operations before the country went into lockdown on March 27, 2020, including Briona and Shane’s surgeries originally scheduled for March 23.
This was her second disappointment as an earlier transplant appointment, February 3, had also been canceled due to safety concerns as Shane’s blood results showed irregularities at the time.
By February 2020, Briona’s kidney function had almost completely reversed and she then had no choice but to start hemodialysis treatment to keep her alive. Hemodialysis is a treatment to filter waste and water from your blood, just like your kidneys did when they were healthy.
Ms Reynold said Shane was determined to become her donor and began the necessary testing to find out if he was a match.
“He always saw me there and he knew that was going to be the result, so he decided he was going to try and there was no stopping him. It was his way of helping,” she told Independent.ie.
“The tests took a couple of months because some tests take six weeks to come back so it’s a long process and it’s tough on the mind because I suppose he’s seen me get sicker over those six weeks , and he could do nothing about it.
“It was very tough and then there were also such uncertain times and then the only thing I didn’t want was to end up on dialysis but we’re lucky to have Shane as my donor when the surgeries get going again came .
“It was the only thing we could relax on in a way.”
The couple share their story in support of the Irish Kidney Association to mark the European Day for Organ Donation and Transplantation, which will take place on October 10th.
Ms Reynolds said she now feels “powerful” and the couple had a “wonderful wedding weekend” at Mount Druid in Castletown Geoghegan.
“It was great to be surrounded by all the people we love. Everything has been going so well for us for the past two years since Shane donated a kidney to me on June 22, 2020,” she said.
“Sometimes we forget the struggles we experienced. We still talk about how it was then, but it always follows how grateful we are for how much better it is now.
“When I think about then and now, they’re two different lives, it’s much more relaxed now. We are currently renovating our house, planning small trips and just enjoying life. We’ve both returned to work and life is great.”
Shane is now back working at Tullamore Garda Station and Briona has just returned to work at Mullingar Community College after the summer holidays.
“We were delighted when the (wedding) day finally came, having previously been a victim of Covid-19 as it should have happened last year,” Ms Reynolds said.
“Me and my mom made the flowers and Shane’s mom made the cake. After that we took a few days off and headed south just to relax. We are planning a honeymoon abroad sometime next year.
“While I will forever be grateful to Shane for the ‘gift of life’ he gave me, I would also like to thank his parents Norman and Sharon Hunter who now live in Dysart, Co Roscommon, as do my mum and Papa, Gina and Frank Reynolds for their loving support”.
Shane added: “We had a great wedding. It is so enriching and brings me great joy to see Briona so well and that we are both happy and healthy and looking forward to the future.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/ill-be-forever-grateful-to-shane-for-the-gift-of-life-he-has-given-me-couple-wed-after-groom-donates-life-saving-kidney-to-bride-41986330.html ‘I will forever be grateful to Shane for the gift of life he gave me’ – Couple who marry after groom donate life-saving kidney to bride