herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Call for organ donors to help babies like Sam

Chloe and Sam Kinahan (11 months)
Chloe and Sam Kinahan (11 months)
Saoirse Perry and dog Kaiser

The mother of a seriously ill baby has made a plea for more people to carry organ donor cards.

Mother-of-two Chloe Kinahan (34) said her 11-month-old son Sam will need a kidney transplant within two years.

The Dublin mother said she hopes people will consider getting a donor card during Organ Donor Awareness Week which begins on Saturday.

"What better legacy for a loved one than to give the gift of life to another person," said Chloe.

It is hoped that Sam will have grown sufficiently by his third birthday to receive a donor kidney from one of his parents. Both Chloe and her partner Ivan (35) will be tested to see if their kidneys are a match for Sam.

Chloe was 15-weeks pregnant with Sam when it was discovered that an obstruction to his urinary system caused his kidneys to be irreparably damaged.

"We were told his chances of survival were very slim," she said.

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Saoirse Perry and dog Kaiser

Within hours of his birth he was diagnosed with end-stage kidney failure. But following a number of surgeries, Sam is now receiving a form of dialysis treatment at home in Baldoyle, five nights a week.

Meanwhile, Dublin student Saoirse Perry (22) from Cabra is also backing the donor card campaign.

She was able to resume her studies after a liver transplant gave her a new lease of life.

"I'm eternally grateful to the donor and to the family of the donor for my new liver," said Saoirse.

Saoirse was studying for an arts degree at Maynooth University when her liver began to fail in 2013.

She had cystic fibrosis (CF) which normally attacks the lungs but, in Saoirse's case, hit her liver instead. She fell into a coma for three days and was placed on the transplant list.

"My weight had fallen to six stone and I needed to build myself up to be ready for a transplant," said Saoirse.

In April, she underwent a liver transplant.

"Just a few hours after the operation I was back on my feet. The liver worked like magic. My jaundice was gone and I got my energy back.

"I'm now feeling 100pc again and am back to my normal weight.

"I've gone back to college to do my finals," she said.

She said families who lose loved ones can make such a difference in someone's life by consenting to donations of organs. Donor organs can be an enduring legacy of their loved one, said Saoirse.

aokeeffe@herald.ie

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