A teenager from Coolock has thanked a therapist who helped her during her time in Temple Street Hospital as a child, as she pursues a career in make-up artistry.
When she was three, Megan Carter’s parents were told that her kidneys were failing, which lead to a long line of operations and a lengthy stay in Temple Street Hospital.
Telling her story ahead of Organ Donor Awareness week, which runs from March 30 to April 6, Megan – who is now 18 – said that a play specialist in Temple Street named Olive became her best friend as she spent a month recovering in the city centre hospital when she was 11.
She said: “When I was 11, I was put on the transplant list. Four weeks later, my parents got the important call from the transplant coordinator that they had found a match [for her kidney].
“I remember being scared and not fully understanding what was going to happen, but I went in hopeful that I would come out to be like everyone else my age.
“Sadly, only eight hours after the transplant, my body went into rejection. I ended up being in hospital for a month recovering and that’s when Olive came into my life.”
Play specialist Olive formed a quick bond with Megan, who said that the Temple Street staff member quickly became her best friend and provided a solace from the recovery process.
“I was used to being poked and prodded, but it a relief when Olive came to me with art supplies.
“My mental health took a toll on me while I was recovering, and it was comforting to have someone there, who wasn’t only present to try to help me get better, but to also bring out my creative side and to distract me from everything that was going on with my physical health.
“Olive wasn’t just a play specialist – she was my friend.”
Megan credits Olive with influencing her to pursue her passion to this day, and to begin a career as a make-up artist.
She said: “I strongly believe that if it wasn’t for Olive, I wouldn’t be doing what I love now – drawing and doing make-up.
“I spent three long years on dialysis and during this time I looked forward to seeing Olive and drawing alongside her while I was waiting for my transplant.”
In 2013, Megan was put on a trial to receive a kidney transplant from someone who wasn’t a kidney donor match.
Her dad was the donor, giving Megan his kidney on April Fool’s Day of the same year.
Megan said: “I had to fly to London to undergo several treatments to remove the antibodies from my body, called desensitisation. I feel very lucky that it worked! I flew back to London again to receive my kidney transplant from my dad.
“I’m so grateful and lucky to have received this life-changing transplant and for it to have worked.
“I spent three months recovering in London and the play specialists there kept my spirits up, yet as wonderful as they were, they were no Olive!
“This year I will be five years post-transplant and I am about to start a make-up course. I’ll be able to take my art skills from my hospital bed into the real world.
“To Olive, all the medical and nursing staff, and my parents who cared for me along the way, I will be forever grateful,” said Megan.
To register to become an organ donor this donor awareness week, and to help people like Megan, freetext Donor to 50050 for an organ donor card, or visit ika.ie.