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I donated my son’s

         organs –now two men

                           live healthy lives

                                                                              Barry, pictured at brother Keith’s wedding in 2010. Barry was his best
                                                       – Maureen Shiel             man and it was the last family occasion they shared with him

                                                   hen Barry Shiel was a        time, I can hardly remember anything
                                                   teenager, he was watching    at all. I do remember thinking that
                                            Wtelevision with his mother         Barry was so big and strong and I
                                            when an organ donation advert came  thought he was going to survive. I
                                            on. He expressed an interest in being  didn’t think he would die.”
                                            a donor and his mother, Maureen,      She’s not sure if it was the
                                            laughed and said he wouldn’t be     Beaumont Hospital bereavement
                                            needing to do that anytime soon.    counsellor who mentioned organ
                                              In February 2011, at the age of 25,  donation but she felt it was what she
                                            ‘fit, sporty and fun’ Barry was killed in  had to do. “I am so pleased that I did
                                            a car crash in Galway and Maureen   consent to give the organs. It’s a
                                            remembered that teenage wish.       wonderful thing to do and I have got
                                              That memory led to her decision to  great consolation from it, knowing
                 Barry Shiel                allow Barry to become an organ      that part of Barry is out there and he
                                            donor when he died, giving the ‘gift  has helped two other men live healthy
           A mother who agreed to allow     of life’ to two young men on the    lives.”

           her son's organs to be donated   transplant list.                      Being able to get a letter from the
                                              She describes the whole process at  donor recipients was particularly
                  says it has been a great
                                            the time as a blur and ‘surreal’.   important to Maureen. It doesn’t
                consolation to know he is     “You never want to bury a child, of  make the loss any easier, she says, but
                           helping others   course, and when I look back on that  “it helps to know that someone is
                                                                                suffering less because my son could
         Maureen and Michael Shiel                                              be a donor.”
                                                                                  Some of Barry’s organs could not
                                                                                be donated because they were
                                                                                damaged in the crash but both his
                                                                                kidneys were suitable. Maureen is
                                                                                delighted that both donor recipients
                                                                                have been in touch with her to
                                                                                express their gratitude.
                                                                                  One man was the same age as one
                                                                                of her other sons and had a child the
                                                                                same age as one of her grandchildren.
                                                                                “They were lovely warm letters and
                                                                                they were so thankful for what we
                                                                                had done. One of the men had
                                                                                planted a tree in his garden in
                                                                                memory of his donor and thinks of
                                                                                him every day. That means so much to

                                                                                  ©Reprinted courtesy Irish Times
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