A 45-year-old man from Sandyford, who gave half of his liver to his sister, has completed a 15-day 1,000 kilometre run to raise organ donor awareness.
Don Hannon set out on the first day of Organ Donor Awareness Week on March 31 running along The Ireland Way, Ireland’s longest coast-to-coast trail covering 14 countries.
He started from the Giant’s Causeway and finished in the Beara Peninsula in Cork on Sunday evening. The challenge came less than two years after he donated part of his liver to his ailing sister, Therese in 2016.
After the operations, Therese, who had previously undergone a liver transplant from a deceased donor, asked Don, an avid trail and long-distance runner, to take up the challenge once he had recovered.
According to the Irish Kidney Association, he also smashed his goal to get over 1,000 people to sign up for organ donor cards.
Don said he was very happy he made it to the finish line: “It was an epic journey filled with fear and excitement in equal amounts. I’m very relieved to have made it to the finish. Hopefully I have inspired many people to register for Organ Donation cards.”
Among the supporters greeting Don on Sunday was his proud mother Salle, and local musician Tim Goulding, who is a liver transplant recipient.
In anticipation of Don’s impending arrival Tim said: “What makes Don doubly special is that he is inspiring many on the way to consider carrying a donor card, having successfully donated a part of his own liver to his sister.
“As a recipient of a new liver nearly three years ago, I am naturally aware that I have been given a second chance in life due to a family’s generosity and foresight.
“Out of someone’s tragedy has sprung a new life. We recipients share one over-riding emotion, gratitude.”
Organ Donor Cards can also be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free Text the word DONOR to 50050 or online at www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card