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'A part of me is with him!': Wexford father donates kidney to ailing son

Graham Bright had just begun a new job in when he ended up in St Vincent’s Hospital with end-stage kidney failure.

A FATHER AND son from Co Wexford are encouraging others to signup for an organ donation card after their successful experiences of organ donation last March.

Fintan Bright, aged 67, from Wexford town, travelled to Vienna to donate one of his kidneys to his ailing son Graham.

They’re sharing their story in support of the Irish Kidney Association’s Organ Donor Awareness Week which comes to a close this weekend.

Graham had been living in Vienna for over a decade and decided to return home to Ireland as he had a secured a job with Facebook. But within four days of him starting his new job, he was in St Vincent’s Hospital with end-stage kidney failure.

For a while, Graham struggled with a form of home dialysis and some infections. He was then transferred to a hospital haemodialysis which worked better from him.

Six months later he returned to Vienna, and underwent a form of home dialysis which worked for a short while.

His concerned father Fintan visited him in Vienna at least six times that year and could see that his son’s health and spirit were deteriorating.

This motivated him to consider donating one of his kidneys to his son.

Fintan said, “while I went to see my son at a dialysis centre in Vienna one Friday in October 2015, I asked to see someone about could make an appointment to discuss living kidney donation.

Within 10 minutes a consultant came to see me and took my blood pressure and asked me to do a 24 hour urine test over the weekend. The following Monday results of my blood urine samples were back within two hours.

“I travelled to Vienna twice more before the operation proceeded. In January I underwent some final tests including medical and psychological assessments and it was announced that I was a perfect match to donate a kidney to my son.”

“The day of the transplant, 15 March, has particular significance, as my own father passed away on that date. My wife Margaret and daughter Louise travelled over with me to Vienna to support both of us. My son Ian stayed in Wexford as he anxiously awaited news from Vienna.”

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The operation was a great success and both father and son made a swift recovery.

“My kidney started working straight away,” Graham said.

“I am over the moon that my life is back on track now, and I’ve my father to thank for this. I would encourage everyone to consider organ donation as it has the power to save and transform the lives of so many people like me who experience organ failure.”

Graham is now living a normal life away from dialysis and Fintan feels “fit and well with my one remaining kidney”.

Graham is living in Vienna and a part of me is there with him!

Organ Donor Awareness Week takes place from 1-8 April. 

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050. You can also download the IKA’s new digital donor card by visiting www.donor.ie on your smartphone.

Read: ‘I feel more alive and can think clearly’: Seven members of Donegal family undergo kidney transplants

Read: ‘After the transplant, I looked in the mirror and my eyes weren’t yellow anymore, they were white’

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