“She gave me life twice” – woman thanks adoptive mother who donated a kidney to her


Kathleen O’Hara has opened up about how her mother gave her “twice the gift of life” after adopting her as a baby and then donating her a kidney.

nne O’Hara, who turns 67 next month, said, “It was fantastic that I could do that for her.”

Kathleen had no idea she had a problem with her kidneys until her GP sent her for a blood test for high blood pressure.

Not only was she told that she had kidney failure, she was also told that at some point in the future she would need a kidney transplant and that having children would be very difficult.

To her surprise, she became pregnant shortly thereafter, but after the birth of their daughter Saoirse (9), the rest of her kidney function deteriorated.

One kidney was not working and the other was down to just 10 percent.

Kathleen started dialysis but said: “I haven’t had any luck with the (dialysis) machine. I was repeatedly hospitalized with infections and got sepsis twice.”

Kathleen was a few months old when she was adopted by Anne and Padraic and upon seeing what Kathleen was going through, Anne offered to be tested to see if they might be a match.

Kathleen explained, “I’m adopted, so I didn’t think she would fit, so I didn’t get my hopes up.”

Then the call came to confirm that Anne was indeed a match.

Anne said: “It was fantastic to think I could do it. It felt great to be able to do that for her.”

The surgeries were performed on the same day at Beaumont Hospital in September 2014.

Kathleen said: “I felt so much better. I read someone else who said being on dialysis was like waking up every morning with a hangover and it was a great way of putting it.

“It’s that miserable feeling when you’re tired and sluggish. After the transplant, I woke up every morning and asked: What am I doing today? You have that energy and that life back in you.”

When asked about her mother, she said: “I’m very lucky to have her. She adopted me and brought me up and she didn’t have to do that, much less give me her kidney. She literally gave me the gift of life twice.

“I’ve always had a great life and been loved. She sacrificed so much for me. I will never be able to pay her back. I just hope that I’ll be able to be that selfless for my own girls. She really is one in a billion. I was very lucky.”

Kathleen has two other daughters – Penny, 5, and Fiadh, 1 – and lives with her fiancé Thomas Murphy in Clonegal, Co Carlow, a ten minute drive from her parents.

Anne said Mother’s Day is “definitely” very special for her and Kathleen and she asked people to consider organ donation this weekend.

“Please fill out the forms, it gives life to someone else. I can’t express how much it has done for Kathleen; that she can be with her children and live her life and enjoy her life; If anyone has the opportunity to do something like that, they should do it.”

Kathleen said: “Your organs aren’t really worth anything to you once you’re gone, but they can be so transformative in someone’s life. It’s a fact that it changes people’s lives.

“I look out the window and think I could be hooked up to a machine in the hospital three days a week, but I’m not. I work, I have a healthy family and a great life, all because I received an organ.”

Organ Donor Awareness Week, organized by the Irish Kidney Association in partnership with Organ Donation Transplant Ireland, will take place from 23rd to 30th April. “She gave me life twice” – woman thanks adoptive mother who donated a kidney to her

Fry Electronics Team

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