PRESS RELEASE                                                                                14TH JUNE 2024                  


This Father’s Day marks a particularly special celebration for one Dublin family. One year ago, Laura Sargeant, then a 40-year-old mother of two, reunited with her father Howard Slattery (then 68) in hospital on Father’s Day just days after donating a kidney to him. This heartfelt act of love by Laura, not only saved his life but also brought the family closer together. As they celebrate the first anniversary of the transplant, they reflect on their journey and the incredible support they received along the way.

Diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) in 2021, Howard endured 18 months of peritoneal dialysis throughout the night in his home in Terenure. Despite the challenges, the family remained hopeful and determined. Laura, living in Rathfarnham was found to be a perfect match after two other family members were ruled out during the initial testing stages. Her younger brother John, who lives and works in London, was next to be tested and would have been delighted to donate also.

“I was overjoyed to be a kidney match for my dad,” Laura shared. “The screening process was extensive, but I felt supported every step of the way. It was a relief to know I was in perfect health and could help my dad.”

Last Father’s Day, Laura and Howard were recovering in the hospital from the transplant surgery performed just days before. Laura, who works as a national account manager for a fashion brand,  recalls the first time she saw her father post-surgery on Father’s Day, “I gave him a Father’s Day card, some chocolate which was forbidden while on dialysis, and a very careful, gentle hug. It was an emotional moment, realising the transplant had been successful and that Dad’s new kidney was already working perfectly.”

This year, the family celebrates with a special lunch and a gathering at home. John flew home from London for the occasion. Last year, John together with six of his friends raised €6,346 for the Irish Kidney Association and organ donor awareness by participating in the Hackney half marathon in London.

The family’s gratitude extends beyond their circle, appreciating the support from the Nephrology and Transplant Teams at Beaumont and Tallaght Hospitals, their friends, and the Irish Kidney Association.

Howard, a grandfather of two, expressed his gratitude: “My life has been transformed. I can now look forward to the future and make plans. I’m very grateful and proud of my wonderful daughter for what she has done for me. We’ve always been close, and this has made us even closer. We have a very special bond, and there’ll always be a part of her with me, which is lovely.”

Howard is especially looking forward to an upcoming family wedding later this year. “We have a big family wedding coming up later this year, my son John is marrying his lovely girlfriend, Ciara. My wife Linda has been a huge support throughout my kidney journey so we can now look forward to the celebrations and being able to enjoy it to the full together, away from the restrictions and sickness that comes with dialysis,” he shared.

Laura’s journey wasn’t without its pressures. Balancing work, family, and the donation process was challenging, but she received unwavering support from her employer and family. “The transplant coincided nicely with the school summer holidays, allowing me to recuperate at our family mobile home in Wexford. It was a beautiful time with my husband Craig and daughters Lucy (now 8) and Emily (now 6),” she recalled.

“I’d like to thank the nephrology and transplant teams at Beaumont Hospital, in particular Dr. Neal Dugal and Dr. Ian Robertson, Prof. Catherine Wall at Tallaght Hospital, Dr. Fergus Brady and Dr. Philip Brady, as well as our wide circle of friends and family who have been our cheerleaders over the past number of years. We are forever grateful for their care, love, and support.”

They say life begins at 40, but for Laura, it was the year she gave renewed life. Laura and Howard hope their story inspires others to consider organ donation. “We feel extremely lucky that everything went smoothly for us,” Laura said. “But our thoughts are with over 2,000 people on dialysis and over 500 on the kidney transplant waiting list donations and not forgetting nearly 100 more waiting for other organ transplants. We’re advocating for altruistic kidney donation which was legislated for in the new Human Tissue Act which was passed earlier this year to be introduced soon to help speed up the process for many.”

This Father’s Day,  Howard and Laura, along with their family and friends, not only celebrate Howard’s renewed health but also their incredible bond and resilience. They look forward to a future filled with joy and health, cherishing every moment together.

For more information on kidney disease and organ donation visit www.ika.ie  Individuals who wish to support organ donation by sharing their wishes with their loved ones are encouraged to keep the reminders of their decision available by carrying the organ donor card, permitting Code 115 to be included on their driver’s license, or having the ‘digital organ donor card’ App on their smartphone. Organ Donor Cards can be requested by visiting the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card  or phoning the IKA on Tel. 01 6205306


For more information

Gwen O’Donoghue, Media Relations, Irish Kidney Association(IKA) e. gwen@ika.ie t.086 8241447

Colin White, Nat. Advocacy & Projects Manager, IKA  e. colin@ika.ie   t. 01 6205306 / 087 684 3644