“She’s like a different child. Sofia rediscovers her childhood” – The Irish Times

Until almost a year and a half ago, Sofia Corey (8) had to undergo dialysis seven nights a week. Since her kidney transplant in December 2020, she finally finds her childhood.

“She was sick a lot, she had fluid restrictions, she was really tired,” her grandmother Joan McElroy said. “Since the transplant, it’s so different. She is like a different child. She’s full of energy, she’s eating more, we can do things we never could have done before. We can take her somewhere else because we could never leave when she was on dialysis.

Sofia was born prematurely and at the age of seven weeks she was diagnosed with a condition called congenital nephrotic syndrome. Six months old, she had a kidney removed. When she was two years old, her parents were trained to give her nighttime dialysis treatment which she underwent at home for 12 hours straight.

It lasted over four years, until she was called in for her kidney transplant.

“Donating is so life changing for a child, for everyone,” his grandmother said. “Sofia got her childhood back. Why wouldn’t you?

Ms McElroy was speaking ahead of the launch of Organ Donation Awareness Week, organized by the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) in association with Organ Donation Transplant Ireland (ODTI).

The key message of the campaign week, which runs from April 23 to April 30, is to “Share your wishes” because organ donation saves and transforms lives.

ODTI clinical lead and critical care consultant Dr Catherine Motherway encouraged members of the public to talk about the issue with loved ones.

“Great Sorrow”

“To our deceased donors and their families, in the midst of great pain, you find within yourselves the courage to think of others: thank you,” she said. “The generosity of organ donors is the foundation of our transplant programs. Organ donation saves and transforms the lives of our transplant recipients.

In 2020, there were 190 transplants, followed by 206 last year. This figure was significantly lower than the five-year average before the Covid-19 pandemic, which was 283 transplants per year.

Carol Moore, chief executive of IKA, said there was “still a long way to go” before a return to pre-Covid levels. “This activity in difficult times could not have taken place without the generosity of the families of 65 deceased kidney donors and 35 living kidney donors.”

She said there were just under 600 active people on waiting lists for organ transplants, including heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas.

In a video speech, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced that more than €1 million in additional funding has been allocated for transplant services this year.

“I am grateful to the donors, their families and all the staff who help make this life-saving donation possible. I am determined to further develop our organ donation and transplantation system and build on the progress we have made so far,” he said.

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