Michelin star restaurateur Derry Clarke has urged people to discuss organ donation and light a candle for donors, like his son, at Christmas.
Derry and his wife Sallyanne of L’Ecrivan tragically lost their son Andrew at age 16 on New Year’s Eve 2012, and they have backed organ awareness campaigns in his memory ever since.
The brave couple met with another brave little battler – seven-year-old kidney patient Tomas O’Dowd – to highlight the Irish Kidney Association’s Christmas campaign.
The campaign aims to encourage families to take time out over the festive season to discuss their organ donation wishes and light a candle for organ donors and the 2,000-plus people in Ireland with organ failure.
Over Christmas, Sallyanne will feature in a national radio advertising campaign reminding families that grateful transplant recipients will be lighting candles to remember donors and families who selflessly donated their loved one’s organs.
This gesture is also in support of more than 2,000 people suffering organ failure and over 500 people currently in the transplant pool waiting for life saving heart, lungs, liver, kidney, and pancreas transplants.
In the radio advert Sallyanne explains how donating her son Andrew’s organs which saved three lives “was the right choice for my family as we had honoured his wishes”.
Although grief stricken with the loss of their only son, the Clarkes made the profound decision to donate his organs.
Sallyanne said: “Andrew and the entire family had discussed organ donation years before his untimely death. He had discussed it in school too.
“It is tragic for any parent to lose a child but we take solace in knowing that our beautiful Andrew gave the ‘gift of life’ to three people and, by doing so, spared three families losing their loved ones.
“We know that a little part of him lives on helping people. We urge all families to discuss organ donation at this time.”
Amanda O’Dowd, mother to Tomas, told how her boy was at two different Dublin hospitals, Temple St and Beaumont, that day for tests to determine if his dad Denis might be a suitable living kidney donor.
Amanda said: “A transplant will completely transform Tomas’s life and will bring to an end the ten-hour nightly dialysis which he has been receiving for the past three years.
“He is our beautiful miracle child. He was given little chance of survival in my early pregnancy scan, but he defied the odds.”
Find out more about Organ Donor Cards at www.ika.ie.
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