A Tribute To Our Retiring CEO Mark Murphy
Mark and Lorraine Costello, who also retires later this year

A Tribute To Our Retiring CEO Mark Murphy

Today, Wednesday 30th September, marks the end of an era for the Irish Kidney Association as our long standing Chief Executive Officer Mark Murphy retires. Below is a short tribute, written by one of Mark’s good friends, member since 1998, and now Board Member Valerie Brady. We invite you to leave well wishes for Mark in the comment section below.

When you think back at the year 2000 you may find yourself wondering, what happened in that millennium year, what was going on in the world?
2000, or Y2K as it was more commonly known, was the year Destiny’s Child dominated the music charts, The Millennium Dome opened, the world was obsessed with Brad & Jen, you used a floppy disc to back up your data, there was a holy hour on a Sunday between 2 and 4 where pubs were forced to close and the Irish Kidney Association appointed a new CEO.

As is so often in life, not everything stands the test of time. All of the above are now either obsolete or gone with the exception of one. For two decades now Mark Murphy has been the CEO of the Irish Kidney Association steering the organisation through buoyant and difficult times alike. Throughout his illustrious career Mark has overseen and driven the transformation of the Association to where it is today, raising the profile of the IKA and promoting organ donation.

Given the task of paying tribute to a longstanding CEO is an extremely difficult one, but an honour none the less. Where do you begin and what do you include? In a career like Mark’s it is impossible to cover everything that he has achieved down through the years. From Editor of the Support Magazine, Advocate, Lobbyist, Statistician, Problem Solver, Event Planner to taxi driver, the list is endless.

Mark’s journey with renal disease began long before his appointment as CEO. He had almost first-hand experience when he found himself in the position of supporting and caring for someone with renal failure. His first wife Bernadette sadly lost her battle with renal failure and subsequently passed away. This had a profound effect on Mark and influenced by this experience, Mark remained a member of the Association and later joined the National Executive Committee.

During his time on the Executive Committee he realised the need for all members to have an input into the organisation. Upon his appointment as CEO he brought about the changes required to ensure that all branches would have representation at the table.

As many of you will know, Mark is not the shy type, and this has meant his voice has been heard loudly both nationally and internationally. As a respected advocate and contributor, he has until recently held the position of President of the European Kidney Patients Federation. He is the only non-medic on the National Organ Donation and Transplantation Advisory Group and he has held positions on the governing councils of both the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Federation and the World Transplant Games Federation, to name but a few.

Mark with President Mary McAleese
Mark with President Mary McAleese in 2008

His collaboration with various European and International organisations has given Mark a vast knowledge base and the ability to analyze and dissect often complex data and figures. Often times he has been mistaken for a medical professional such is the depth of his knowledge. In fact, in his office he proudly displays a certificate with the title “Dr. Mark Murphy” received from a medical conference he attended.

Mark at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in Richmond, Virginia
Mark at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) in Richmond, Virginia, in 2008.

Through his work at an international level he built up the credibility of the Irish Kidney Association at a domestic level and this has been instrumental in ensuring that the voice of the patients has been represented at decision-making level within the government and the HSE for many years.

Since taking office Mark has

  • Overseen the sale of the offices in Ballsbridge to the establishment of the head office now currently in Park West.
  • Grown the organisation to provide services for patients, otherwise not available to them e.g. our nationwide counselling.
  • Advocated for a living donor programme.
  • Secured government funding for the payment of expenses for those taking part in the living donor programme and the paired exchange.
  • Persistently advocated for Organ Donation for Transplantation including legislation around consent and he continues to fight for a dual Yes/No Registry.
  • Successfully lobbied EU Legislators for amendments to the EU Directive on Organ Donation and Transplantation.
  • In collaboration with the Laois, Offaly and Westmeath branches purchased and located a temporary Dialysis unit at Tullamore Hospital.
  • Alongside the Cork branch secured the purchase of a property in Cork City for future use as the organisation’s second renal support centre.
  • Lobbied for the inclusion of an organ donor symbol on both the public services card and new format driving license and was successful in achieving the latter. To date over 1 million people have consented to have code 115 printed on their driving license.
  • Campaigned for better services for patients i.e. transport, dialysis, overall physical and emotional well-being of patients.
  • Overseen the development of a very successful sports programme for dialysis patients as well as transplant recipients (all organs) under the umbrella of Transplant Team Ireland.
Mark at the 2015 World Transplant Games in Argentina

All of the above does not include the work that goes into the day-to-day running of the organisation.

More recently, Mark has guided the organisation through the current Covid-19 pandemic, delaying his retirement to ensure there was a steady hand steering the ship. We thank him for his continuing care and thought for the patients during these turbulent times.

Mark with Dr Colm Magee, Consultant Nephrologist and Kidney Transplant Physician at Beaumont Hospital, filming a COVID-19 information video.

We are sure there are many with a fond story or memory to tell about Mark. Some may remember the banter had at an undisclosed location, others may remember hearing a talk and the impact it had on them at that moment in time. Many will know the friendly ear that listened and the sound advice given by him.

We will be forever indebted for Mark’s vision and commitment to the Association, always ready to go to battle for the patients. After two decades as our Chief Executive Officer, Mark Murphy leaves a long and impactful legacy not only on the Irish Kidney Association but on the wider dialysis and organ transplant community.

We wish Mark and Frances well as they embark on a new chapter in their lives together.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. That is a lovely and very accurate summary of the Mark Murphy that I have known for the last 12 years. If I was to try to sum him up in a few works,. “Mark Murphy, CEO IKA,. The renal patients always came first”.

  2. Happy and healthy retirement to Mr. Murphy.

  3. Hi Mark, sincere wishes for a very long, happy and healthy retirement. Enjoy the future. Philip/Rose

  4. Well done on your fantastic work and all the best for the future

  5. Every happiness for the future Mark to yourself and Frances.

  6. Dear Mark
    I am a living donor kidney recipient (2017) and just wanted to say Thank You for your advocation of the living donor program which i benefitted greatly from.

    You have been an outstanding advocate for patients over the years Mark. I have listened to many talks you have given at meetings and other occasions and you are an inspirational and tremendous source of comfort for patients.
    You have helped create an outstanding patient support group in the IKA

    So on this occasion of your retirement I just wanted to say THANK YOU MARK, you are leaving an amazing legacy of achievement that you can be very proud of and we the patients will continue to benefit from. May i wish you every success for your future life and career after the IKA.

    Very best wishes
    Gerry McKenna

  7. Dear Mark,
    I wish you a very happy retirement and will, together with Frances, look forward to a well earned rest from such a very busy life.
    We first met at the 2nd meeting of the International Federation of Kidney Foundations, in LA and if had not been for your good humour and encouragement, I would not have felt so at home within this international organisation you also belonged as representative for IKA for a very long time as council member.
    It was a privilege to have met you and Frances. Thank you Mark and warmest regards from Marianne Vennegoor Retired Renal Dietitian and IFKF member/council member 2000-2018

  8. I worked with Mark when I was CEO of Asthma Australia from 2003 until 20016. During those years Mark and I worked together on the Board of the IFKF raising awareness and funds to help organisations around the world fight kidney disease. Mark is an amazing advocate not only for his own organisation but for those with kidney disease and their carers.

    Congratulations Mark on 20 fabulous years at the helm of the IKA. You will be sorely missed on the kidney scene and I have only the best memories of our great work together at the IFKF, or our great achievements, collegiate support internationally and of fabulous times spent together.

    All the very best to you and Frances and if COVID ever allows you to travel – come and visit down under! Would love to see you here again.

    Best wishes and sincere congratulations!

    Anne

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