Susan Mulligan, a kidney transplant recipient came out of cocooning to meet her sister Julie Sutcliffe, a dialysis patient, over the June bank holiday weekend at the Phoenix Park Dublin to highlight the Irish Kidney Association’s Virtual Run for a Life which celebrates organ donation.
From Castlerea, Co Roscommon the sisters share the same genetic polycystic kidney disease, along with two other siblings and their kidney transplant father. Within just a few months of Susan, who lives in Dublin 8, undergoing her life-changing kidney transplant in June 2019, Julie, a mother of two, who lives in Aughrim, Co Wicklow commenced her twice-weekly journeys to Dublin for dialysis treatment at Tallaght Hospital.
Between now and Sunday, June 21st, the public are invited to come together while staying apart to support the Irish Kidney Association and organ donation in its 12th Run for a Life by Walking, Jogging or Running 2.5km, 5km or 10km in their local area and to register as many times as they like at www.ika.ie
People can donate a €10 registration fee and can choose to be included on a leader board for their chosen distance via a link. They can also share photos of their endeavours on social media – using #runforalife. There will be prizes on offer for each distance, 2.5km 5km, 10km. As the event will run over three weeks people can enter as many times as they like by registering each time!
Mr. Colin White, the National Projects Manager of the Irish Kidney Association and Race Manager explained, “Run for a Life is now in its twelfth year. Going Virtual with ‘Run for a Life’ opens up lots of scope geographically for the event to grow and for the public from anywhere in Ireland and beyond to really come behind this celebration of life. We will be particularly inviting our friends from the transplant and dialysis community across Europe to join us ‘virtually’ as they should have been coming to Dublin for the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in August which we had to cancel because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of our successful Transplant Team Ireland including two who are living in South Africa and Australia will also be taking part in Run for a Life.”
In explaining the objectives of the event Mr. White said, “We hope that ‘Run for a Life’ will encourage people to have that all-important conversation about organ donation and let their wishes be known. People of all ages can take part in and by getting out and about over the next three weeks for the event while observing social distancing. It’s a wonderful healthy activity for both mind and body to get involved within these challenging times while helping to provide vital funds for the Irish Kidney Association which represents over 5000 kidney patients and also promotes and distributes the donor card in Ireland.”
Mr. White explained “Organ transplant recipients and people on dialysis are identified as being part of the ‘at risk’ population and, as such, have been obliged to cocoon. This has thrown the lives of many into turmoil. Transplant recipients celebrate the second chance, and renewed independence, that comes from the Gift of Life and the fact that their health has again become a point of vulnerability has brought many challenges. People on dialysis are having to leave their cocoons three times a week to attend treatment – the anxiety levels associated with this at these uncertain times are significant. The transplant programme in Beaumont Hospital has been halted for weeks now and this is bringing its own anxieties.”
To register for the Irish Kidney Association’s Run for a Life log on to www.ika.ie
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.
The public can also support the work of the Irish Kidney Association and can Freetext KIDNEY to 50300 to donate €4. Texts cost €4, Irish Kidney Association will receive a minimum of €3.60. Service Provider: LIKECHARITY. Helpline: 076 6805278. They can also donate through the Irish Kidney Association’s website https://ika.ie/make-a-contribution/