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Ray of hope for dialysis mother awaiting transplant

Enjoying the recent sunshine at her local beach in Sandycove with her children Kai and Nadia was dialysis patient Lorna McSwiggan.

Lorna, a nurse who has in the past worked at Crumlin Children’s Hospital with kidney patient children, was herself catapulted into kidney failure halfway through her second pregnancy in 2019.

Her two months premature baby was named Nadia Rae (meaning Ray of Hope).

Lorna is in the extremely high-risk group for Covid-19 as she is a dialysis patient and has been cocooning for over a year.

Just after last Christmas, her husband Richard Martin and daughter Nadia tested positive for Covid-19.

Luckily Lorna tested negative. Lorna who is now on the waiting list for a kidney transplant says that ‘organ donors offer a ray of hope’ and shared her story in support of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2021 which is organised by the Irish Kidney Association and continues until this Saturday, 3rd April.

In June 2019, Lorna’s world was turned upside down when kidney failure led her to having to undergo a C-section to deliver her baby girl, Nadia who was born two months prematurely and weighed just 3 pounds 4 ounces.

Within a minute of being born, Nadia required CPR and then was cared for in the Neonatal Unit at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street while Lorna was transferred to St. Vincent’s Hospital for treatment where she remained for almost a week before she could be reunited with her new-born in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Baby Nadia then came home safely to her family a few weeks later and has been thriving ever since. Lorna’s wish is to help raise public awareness about the importance of organ donation particularly to those 550 or more people and their families who are also affected, who are waiting for life saving organ transplants including hearts, lungs livers, kidneys and pancreas and the more than 2,300 people like her who are undergoing dialysis treatment in Ireland.

Lorna, the proud mother of Nadia who is now 21 months old and Kai who is 12 years old, says, “Being able to live long enough to see my children grow up would be the greatest gift I could ever receive.

“Regrettably, none of my family, although willing, are suitable living kidney donors for me so I live in hope for a deceased donor kidney.

“Organ donors offer a ray of hope to me and others on transplant waiting lists and to our families also.

“Nadia Rae Vale was the name that myself and Richard chose for our tiny new-born, our Ray of Hope.

“Nadia means Hope and Rae is the female version of Ray.

“Rae and Vale comes from her grandmother’s name Valerie.

“I started dialysis treatment in June 2019 as I went into renal failure during pregnancy with Nadia. I have a renal condition called Alport Syndrome and I am the only known family member with this condition.

“Due to my kidney failure I am currently unable to return to my job nursing as I would find it impossible to tolerate with its long hours and the physical impact of my condition.

“The pandemic has also impacted on my ability to work as I am so high risk and I have been cocooning for over a year. I have been on the transplant waiting list since March 2020.

“Unfortunately, none of my family would be suitable donors so I am relying on a deceased donor transplant.

“I attend the Beacon Clinic for my three hourly dialysis treatment.

“I am so thankful to the care I have received from my Consultants Professor Watson, Professor Holian and the amazing dialysis team at Beacon Renal.”

Organ Donor Awareness Week 2021 is organised by the Irish Kidney Association, and began on the 27th March and continues until Saturday 3rd April.

For more information, please go to www.ika.ie/donor week2021

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