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Sarah’s Story – Organ Donor Awareness Week 2024

Written by Sarah McEvoy whose brother Kevin, a heart patient, passed away last year.

My name is Sarah McEvoy and I’m from Killeshin Road which is on the Laois Carlow border. My brother Kevin passed away in September last year. He was 34. Married almost two years to his wife Deborah and had just welcomed their son Keelin into the world. In 2019 Kevin was diagnosed with heart failure. His condition was managed with medication and an internal defibrillator under the wonderful care of Professor Caroline Daly and her team in St James’ Hospital. But earlier last year Kevin’s condition began to decline rapidly and he was moved to the care of Prof Emer Joyce, Dr Gerry Giblin and Dr Katie Murphy in the Mater Hospital. There he began his journey for a heart transplant. He spent his last 140 days in the care of the fantastic staff of the Mater. There are too many to name individually but we would like to thank every one of the porters, dieticians, social workers, transplant coordinators, physios, cleaners, kitchen staff and of course the nurses who we called Kevin’s angels.

I could stand here for hours and talk about how strong my brother was and how much of a fighter he was until the end but none of that matters. Kevin surviving depended on many things. His life depended on a new heart. A heart that belonged to someone else. There was a shortage of suitable donors. No suitable heart. We waited months. Everyday full of hope and prayer that he’d get a call and that would be it. My parents were by his side each day doing their best to stay positive. Trying to keep Kevin’s mood and spirits up while he was in his hospital room. On his own. He should’ve been with his wife Deborah who was pregnant with their first baby. Going to scans and talking about what to buy and getting the house ready. But instead he was 34 drinking scandi shakes, on a strict diet and doing weights preparing for his transplant. The whole community was hoping and praying. Everyone waiting for the good news. And nothing.

Kevin got sicker and sicker, his time was running out.

As a family we never spoke about Kevin dying or life without him. And when he did pass away everyone was utterly shocked. We were all certain he’d get a heart. Kevin was one of the unlucky ones. And now we’re without a brother, a son, a husband, a father, an uncle, a nephew, a cousin and a friend.

You might be wondering why I’m sharing our story. Why I’m not at home processing Kevin’s death and grieving our loss. The truth is, we are shattered by our loss, but we don’t want another family to endure this pain. If our story prompts even one person to discuss their wishes regarding organ donation with their family, it would spare multiple families the pain we feel everyday. One donor can save seven lives so please don’t leave your loved ones in doubt. Tell them you want to donate your organs. Carry a donor card, Download the Donor app and simply notify your next of kin in a couple of steps. Your family will be dealing with so much in that moment and knowing your organ donation wishes is one less thing to think about. Please do not leave your loved ones in doubt.

Visit for more information and to request an Organ Donor Card.