Grateful for the two gifts of life she received through organ donation Sarah Dalton and her kidney donor husband, Conor, from Castleknock, are organising a Charity Ball to celebrate organ donation and support children and adults with organ failure. The Gift of Life Charity Ball in aid of the Irish Kidney Association will be attended by over 200 guests and will be held at the 4 star Castleknock Hotel, Dublin 15 on Friday 27th September. Guest speakers will include an altruistic kidney donor and the mother of a 3 year old boy who willrequire a kidney and liver transplant.
With entertainment provided by The Swing Cats, the black-tie event promises a lively night of glamour, a drinks reception, sumptuous dining, an exciting auction and fun and dance for a worthy cause. Co-hosting the event with Sarah will be Vivienne Traynor, the RTE Courts correspondent, she herself a living kidney donor, who will attend with her husband Justin Treacy.
Proceeds raised from the event will go to the Irish Kidney Association, the charity which provides supports and advocacy for kidney patients and promotes the organ donor card.
There will also be an auction on the night where proceeds raised will support a children’s transplant sports programme which is being developed with input from Children’s Liver Disease Ireland, Heart Children Ireland and the Irish Kidney Association. The programme comes under the banner of the Irish Kidney Association’s Transplant Team Ireland and its aim is to encourage a life time habit of physical and emotional well-being for children post-transplant and to offer an informal peer network for the siblings and parents involved . The programme will benefit transplant children and teenagers who receive care at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin as well as Temple Street Children’s University Hospital where Sarah spent much of her childhood until she received her first transplant from a deceased donor, when she was just seventeen. She underwent her second transplant in 2013 thanks to her kidney donor husband Conor at Beaumont Hospital.
Another mother from Castleknock keen to support the event is Helen Turley who in 2014 donated a kidney to her son Hugo (now age 8) as he, like Sarah, had spent a lot of time as a patient at Temple Street Hospital from early childhood.
One of the guest speakers at the event will be Michelle O’Riordan, a nurse at Tallaght Hospital, whose 3-year-old son Jack has been a patient at Temple Street Hospital since he was one week old. Jack has a rare genetic condition ARPKD and although not on the transplant waiting list yet he will require a combined kidney and liver transplant operation in Birmingham in the UK. Michelle and her husband Anthony are from South County Dublin and now live in Longwood, Co Meath with their children Jack and his younger brother Miles. Michelle said, “my family are delighted to support the Charity Ball and play our part in helping to increase organ donor awareness. We had never heard of Jack’s condition, ARPKD, before he was diagnosed after birth and nor did we know anyone who had a transplant or needed one despite my work as a nurse. It was a huge shock to us. He spent almost all of his first year in hospital trying to stabilise his high blood pressure which when it peaks it affects his heart and poses a threat of stroke and heart attack. His enlarged kidneys which are covered in cysts make it more difficult to control his blood pressure. Jack has to take several blood pressure medications daily to combat this. His disease progression is unpredictable and his condition can become critical very quickly. Jack is at patient at both Crumlin and Temple Street hospitals where he is under the wonderful expert care of cardiology, renal and liver staff who try to keep his condition under control and get him to the point where he will be able to go on the transplant waiting list.”
Dominick Natin, a Consultant Doctor at the Mater Hospital Dublin who travelled by train to Belfast last year to donate a kidney to a stranger at Belfast City Hospital as the altruistic programme wasn’t available here will also share his experience on the night as a guest speaker. Representing the Irish Kidney Association will be the National Projects Manager, Colin White.
Attending with their families will be some members of the successful Transplant Team Ireland who enjoyed great success at the World Transplant Games held last month in Newcastle UK. Bringing with them their impressive haul of medals from the World Games will be retired Urologist Ron Grainger, from Castleknock, Peter Heffernan from Skerries and Jerome Lyness from Navan.
Sarah received letters from both the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expressing their best wishes to her and for a successful Gift of Life Charity Ball.
Explaining her motivation for organising the Charity Ball with her husband Conor, a solicitor, Sarah said, “I remain forever grateful to the donor I will never know for my first transplant and to Conor for the second transplant which, like the first, gave me my life back and enabled me to live normally again. I am now healthy, able to work as a music teacher and am the proud mother of beautiful daughter Anabelle who has just started playschool. I want to give back to the Irish Kidney Association which offers support, comfort and advice to patients and families. This is why I am organising the Gift of Life Charity Ball to help raise funds and awareness for this wonderful organisation as well as increasing awareness about the life saving legacy of organ donation. I have been humbled by the response we have already received with so many people moved to support the cause and lots of individuals and businesses donating vouchers, weekends away and other great items for the auction and with most of the event’s tickets already sold we expect it to be a full house. It’s going to be a great night!”
The event commences at 7.30pm with a drinks reception. A limited number of tickets are still available from www.eventbrite.ie