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Dublin: 8 °C Sunday 20 October, 2019

"Bestowed a bright shining light": Appleby jewellers' son saved by donor

Gerry and Helen’s son Simon was called to Beaumont Hospital to undergo a kidney transplant operation last week.

(L-R) Sophie, Gerry, Simon and Helen Appleby.
(L-R) Sophie, Gerry, Simon and Helen Appleby.
Image: Conor McCabe

IRELAND’S WELL-KNOWN jewellery family, The Applebys, have today spoken about the success of a transplant operation carried out on Simon Appleby, son of Helen and Gerry.

The 28-year-old received a kidney transplant last week at Beaumont Hospital.

Wanting to raise awareness about the legacy of organ donation, the family wanted to share their story during Organ Donor Awareness Week which runs until Saturday 5 April.


Simon was one of twelve people to be called to Beaumont Hospital to undergo a kidney transplant operation and he was discharged yesterday.

Simon’s mother, Helen Appleby said their story is all the more compelling, as just 20 years ago, Simon’s grandfather John Appleby’s organs were donated.

Helen explained, “by coincidence the same transplant coordinator was on duty at Beaumont Hospital as was there twenty years ago when Simon’s grandfather’s organs were donated”.

Simon contracted HUS when he was three months old which attacked his kidneys and he spent a long time in the intensive care unit at Our Lady’s hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin.

At the age of five years old, he contracted nephritis which involved a further long stay in hospital.


Over the years, Simon managed to stave off dialysis treatment completely in advance of his life changing pre-emptive transplant.

Helen had been screened for suitability to donate a kidney to him, and they were awaiting word of a date for the transplant to proceed.

However, a deceased donor became available last week.

Helen said:

Simon can now live a normal life and is looking forward to sharing a normal meal with his family and friends.
We are overjoyed but our feelings of elation are tempered with sadness.The bright shining light that has been bestowed on our family is thanks to an anonymous donor. Our thoughts are with the donor’s grieving family at this time.

There are over 600 people in Ireland awaiting life-saving heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants. Thanks to the gift of organ donation over 3000 people in Ireland are enjoying extended life.

Organ Donor Awareness Week which is organised by the Irish Kidney Association will continue until Saturday 5 April.

For organ donor cards visit the Irish Kidney Association website or LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050

Read: 10 years of life-changing transplants marked by Temple Street>

Read:  Joe Brolly: ‘I would donate a kidney again tomorrow if I could’>

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