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Message from LORRAINE COSTELLO, IKA Patient Support Officer

                                  Whilst all around us politicians and economists are assuring us that this dreadful recession is finally
                                  coming to an end, the reality is that the majority of our families are still encountering real hardship.
                                  The 85% restoration of the social welfare Christmas grant is welcome but does little to alleviate the
                                  financial difficulty people have been enduring these past twelve months. Just like our members the IKA,
                                  too, has had to come to terms with a vastly reduced income stream and we continue to rely on the
                                  goodwill and determination of our friends and supporters to raise much needed funds so that we can
                                  commit resources to those most in need.

                                    As was the practice in 2015 many      and guide us.
                                 members, this past year, woke up to letters  I would also like to thank the Patient Care
                                 informing them that their medical cards had  Co-ordinators, hospital Social Workers,
                                 been withdrawn. Also from the sound of   Nursing personnel and all those involved in
               Lorraine Costello  recent disturbing political utterances even  the day-to-day care of our renal patients.
                                 more medical cards are to be withdrawn in  Thanks to their vigilance, interest and support,
                                 2017. Since the IKA's foundation, the    patients' needs and concerns are brought to
                                 Association has actively campaigned,     my attention. In turn, the IKA is pleased to
                                 unfortunately without success, for renal  offer its assistance, be it practical, financial or
                                 failure to be placed on the long-term illness  emotional support. Additionally IKA Branch
                                 list and, in these harsh economic times it  Officers also continue to advise me of their
                                 continues to be unlikely for this ever to  local members' needs.
                                 happen. However I continue to attempt to    In conclusion, may I congratulate all our
                                 support each patient's appeal upon
                                                                          patients who were fortunate enough to
                                 withdrawal of their medical card, by writing a
                                                                          receive a transplant in 2016 and wish them
                                 letter of support. May I please request those I
                                                                          well. I also would like to encourage those
                                 have advocated for, in 2016, to please let me
                                                                          who are still waiting for that most important
                                 know if your appeal was successful or not as
                                                                          call that, hopefully, it will be your turn in 2017
                                 it would be helpful to acquire such
            Seasons'             information.                             to receive the precious 'gift of life'. Each year I
                                                                          am privileged and humbled to converse with
                                    This past twelve months has seen an
           greetings             increased demand for patient aid and the IKA  Donor Families whose generosity, at a time of
                                                                          great personal loss, never ceases to amaze
                                 continues to valiantly attempt to maintain
           to all our            services, despite its reduced income. I would  me.
                                                                             As Christmas approaches I hope and trust
                                 like to highlight that confidential patient aid
                                                                          that Donor Families are aware and confident
          members,               is, as usual, available throughout the entire  in the knowledge that their organ transplant
                                 year and not simply at Christmas time. Indeed
                                                                          recipients continue to remember them and
                                 many patients contact me.
            patients,               May I respectfully remind you of the  thank them daily. I am conscious that Donor
                                                                          Families are greatly comforted (particularly at
                                 various channels which can be used:-
             friends                                                      Christmas time when their own personal loss
                                 Contact your local Branch Officers.      of a loved one is even more difficult) to
                and              Contact the Sister in your unit, Patient  receive anonymously, a letter, thank you note,
                                 Care Co-ordinator, or Hospital Social    Mass card or update on their recipients' lives.
            medical              Worker and of course you can contact me  They are touched by the recognition of their
                                 directly, Lorraine Costello, Donor House,  family's courageous decision to donate, and
           personnel             01-6205306 or email:   the reality that they are being remembered, at
                                                                          this sad time, when families traditionally come
                                    I would like to thank Regina Reynolds and  together. However, for Donor Families, the
                                 her team in the offices of Organ Donation  reality is that there is an empty space at their
                                 and Transplantation Ireland for their help in  own table.
                                 2016. Additionally, Aileen Counihan, Senior  Finally I wish all our members and readers a
                                 Co-ordinator in Living Donation, Beaumont  happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy
                                 Hospital and her team, continues to advise  New Year.
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