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 Alan Sweeney McBride
Alan Sweeney McBride
Image: Charlotte Murray

Alan's family decided to donate his organs after seeing a recipient on TV

Alan Sweeney McBride from Westport was involved in a road traffic accident in Sligo – his organs went on to save six others.
Apr 3rd 2015, 6:03 AM 22,367 12

IN NOVEMBER 2013, Alan Sweeney McBride from Westport was involved in a road traffic accident in Sligo.

He was one of three people in the car but the only one with serious injuries.

Alan was rushed to Sligo General Hospital and later transferred to the Richmond Unit in Beaumont Hospital. There, his family were told there was nothing that could be done for him.

He remained in hospital for two days before his family decided to donate his organs. Alan was just 21 years old.

A close family friend, Charlotte Murray, said it was not an easy decision for the family to make – it is often a conversation that close relatives neglect to have with each other.

Donating organs

“There were a few family members who were set against donating his organs, with a fear that it was hurting him somehow,” she said.

She said it wasn’t until they saw a young man speaking on TV3′s Ireland AM about having a transplant that they realised how important it was.

Alan’s organs were donated to six people.

“I think seeing that young man leading a full life again spoke to them as he was so similar to Alan. He was active, liked the same things, and it was a way of giving back and honouring Alan,” said Murray.

unnamed (1) Taking part in Hell and Back Source: Charlotte Murray

The young man on television said he was taking part in the Hell and Back race and Alan’s family thought it would be a great way to raise money for the Richmond Unit in Beaumont Hospital by doing the same.

After his death, his second youngest sister Shannon, now aged 16, along with 28 family and friends decided to take part in the Hell and Back race in Sligo in 2014 to honour his memory. They also plan to take part in the Western People Mini Marathon on 3 May. 

“The treatment Alan got in the hospital was amazing. Though we knew there was nothing they could do for him, the family and Alan were never treated that way. They cared for him like any other patient, and that is to be commended.”
“Stories like Alan’s and others that are publicised can turn people’s thoughts and make them see just how important organ donation is.
Hearing such a story had a massive impact on Alan’s family to make the right choice. People need to have those conversations.”

Organ Donor Awareness Week takes place from 28 March – 4 April.

The Irish Kidney Association is promoting the week and urging people to have a family discussion around the subject of organ donation. You can offer your support for organ donation through donor cards, smartphone app, driver’s licence (code 115) and Freetext numbers. You can text “kidney” to 50300 and €2 will be donated from your mobile phone account to the IKA. 

Throughout the week, IKA volunteers will be distributing organ donor cards and selling forger-me-not flower emblems (the symbol of transplantation) in cities, towns and villages throughout the country.

Read: ‘Our little boy always wanted to be a superhero and he became one in death’>

Read: ‘Everyday I pray for that special person who saved my life’>

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Christina Finn

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