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doctor or surgeon in my young head    It took a full year to have various
                                            but the soldier head led the way for  tests and interviews before I was
                                            my life.                            accepted as an altruistic donor and in
                                              I served my adopted country and   January 2011 I donated a kidney to a
                                            retired from military service in 1995.  total stranger. I was informed that the
                                            Too young to retire I found work as a  kidney was given to a 60 year old man
                                            Safety Officer with a local firm and  from Manchester and that the organ
                                            worked there for 12 years. I took early  began working immediately upon
                                            redundancy and decided to retire    implantation.
                                            totally from working life although I  Initially I was shocked and
                                            had educated myself with a university  disappointed that my kidney was
                                            degree and teacher status.          given to a 60 year old man. During my
                                              Organ donation was still very     year of tests and interviews I had it in
                                            uppermost in my mind and I enquired  my mind that I was going to give life
                                            from my local GP about the possibility  to a man or woman who would be on
                                            of donating when I was alive.       dialysis and would have children of
                                            Although all organs are as important  their own. I could see that this
                                            as each other I was informed that it  donation was not only going to give
                                            was possible to donate a kidney to a  life to one person but it was going to
                                            living person on the organ waiting list.  give a quality of life back to a whole
                                              Because I was Irish I wanted to   family.
            am Eamonn Byrne. I am 68 years  donate to an Irish person. I sought   Lying in my hospital bed I prayed
            old and I was born in the Rotunda  information from Beaumont Hospital  and asked for guidance with my
            Hospital, Dublin in 1948. My    in Dublin but was informed that     thoughts. I was guided alright. I
        Ifamily were originally from the    although they do kidney transplants it  realised how selfish I had been by my
        Ballsbridge area in Dublin but moved  was from family members to direct  self-righteous thought demands. I
        in 1946 to the new town called Cabra  family members or organs from     began to realise that no matter who
        West in the then Dublin suburbs.    deceased people. I was told also that  the recipient was, man or woman,
           I schooled in Cabra West and first  the United Kingdom had a         black or white, it was important to
        left Ireland in 1965. I returned in 1966  programme for altruistic donations  them as someone who wanted a
        and joined the Irish Army Corps of  (living people donating organs to   quality of life and to be removed from
        Signals at Collins Barracks Dublin.  living people (strangers)) in addition to  the waiting list. I have yet to meet the
        During my service 1966-1970, I served  a similar donation programme as in  man in question and I would like to
        in Cyprus with the United Nations.  Ireland.                            one day. It would be a humbling
           I returned to England in 1970 and                                    experience for me as I had learned a
        joined the Royal Engineers and                                          very valuable lesson that donation day.
        remained with them for 25 years                                           I have taken part in the Give A
        serving in various theatres around the                                  Kidney (GAK) Campaign -
        world. Having reached the highest      Lying in my hospital bed         www.giveakidney.org - in the
        Non-Commissioned rank of Warrant                                        United Kingdom recently and they
        Officer Class 1, I was awarded the       I prayed and asked for         have just celebrated the 500th
        British Empire Medal (BEM) by Her                                       donation. I am proud to say that I am
        Majesty, the British Queen.                                             one of the 500.
           It was during my service in 1977   guidance with my thoughts.          It has become extremely important
        that I saw my older brother suffering                                   to me to make others aware of the
        from kidney failure. Not being a         I was guided alright.          possibilities of both living donation
        match a younger brother of mine was                                     and donating on death. It has become
        and he donated a kidney to save his   I realised how selfish I had       important to me to ensure that my
        brother’s life. It was then that I                                      family are fully aware of my decision
        became aware of the possibilities of   been by my self-righteous        to donate all of my remaining organs
        organ donation and I became                                             upon my demise and, lastly, it is
        interested in the possibility of           thought demands.             important that we frequently discuss
        becoming a donor after my death.                                        donation of organs as a family. We all
        The first heart transplant by Dr                                        donate blood on a regular basis and
        Christian Bernard was a fascinating                                     we will continue to do so as long as
        period for me. I wanted to become a                                     we can.
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