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Organ donation – one Killarney woman’s story

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A former Killarney resident who underwent a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant wants to raise awareness of organ donation.

Organ Donor Awareness Week 2024 ends on Saturday and is organised by the Irish Kidney Association (IKA) in association with the HSE’s Organ Donation Transplant Ireland (ODTI).

Julie Egan, 36, who now lives in Donegal Town spent most of her childhood in Killarney. 
Her life changed for the better last year thanks to a deceased organ donor.
“Soon after moving back from New York to Killarney. I was diagnosed with type one Diabetes. I was just eleven when my world was turned upside down. My life became a constant struggle. HospitaliSations due to complications with my diabetes plagued my youth, teenage, and early adulthood years,” she said.
“It was a very scary and stressful experience for me in early adolescence and I did not process it well. I suffered from anxiety and depression as a teenager.
“I developed a rebellious attitude and was very angry as I felt powerless that regardless of how hard I tried I was never going to get my Diabetes under control and I had resigned to thinking that I was going to end up in a horrific state as my illness took a tighter grip on me.
“I managed to progress into adulthood with the daily regime of insulin injections, glucose and diet monitoring and by then had learned to live with the illness with an acceptance and with a greater understanding and management of my lifestyle.
“By this time I was living independently in Cork city, away from my family, trying my best to begin my third-level education journey as a mature student but this proved impossible due to my health declining.
“I then decided to move back in with my family who were now living in Donegal Town. From there on my whole health started to crumble. I woke up one morning but could barely see, my eyesight was almost gone. It was such a shock and very frightening! I then went to get my eyes checked at Sligo University Hospital and my diagnosis was bleak.
“An unwanted consequence of Diabetes which affects some patients, I had developed retinopathy and Macular edema which caused blurry vision as my eyesight began to fail. From there I began a series of eye treatments that continued for the next two years and which included many laser surgery corrections, and my least favourite was steroid eye injections every month.
“During those two years, my vision had declined rapidly and due to multiple eye haemorrhaging, I had complete loss of vision for almost six months! I then underwent major eye surgery at the Mater Hospital in Dublin. The team that looked after me there was amazing. They saved my vision! Although my eyesight has been damaged severely and with partial blindness, I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to see.
“Managing diabetes was more than just avoiding sugar; it consumed me physically and mentally.
“My health declined further in my mid-20s. Persistent urinary and kidney infections became a new challenge.
“I struggled to maintain my energy levels and experienced swelling all over my body, indicating potential kidney issues.
“Eventually, blood tests confirmed my worst fears: my kidney function was declining rapidly.
“Now, I was not only battling diabetes but also the prospect of kidney failure. Dialysis became my lifeline, but it also felt like a burden, leaving me with little energy and frequent ICU visits. Even surviving COVID-19 was a challenge. I then contacted TB and endured rigorous testing, after which I was finally placed on the transplant list at St. Vincent’s University Hospital for a kidney and pancreas transplant.
“In Spring 2023, I received a call for a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant, which was a total success. Waking up, I felt like a weight had been lifted. No more insulin injections and the four years of dialysis sessions which I had to undergo three times a week, leaving close to 2,000 hours on a dialysis machine behind me. I could finally live, not just exist.

“The emotions overwhelmed me. Gratitude, relief, and disbelief flooded my heart. To think that someone's selfless act, their decision to donate organs, had given me a second chance at life. It's a feeling I struggle to put into words.
“I owe my newfound life to my donor and their family, whose gift of life I cherish every day. I'm grateful for the support of my loved ones, my parents have been with me through all the ups and downs, and also all nursing and medical staff who cared for me’
My future now holds hope, excitement, and immense gratitude. Organ donation transformed my life, and I'll forever advocate for its importance."

SIGN UP FOR A ORGAN DONOR CARD
By requesting an organ donor card (www.ika.ie/donorcard), you are telling the 600+ people, and their families, who are currently waiting for ‘the call’ that there are people out there who are thinking of them. With approximately only 1% of deaths occurring in the circumstances of potential organ donation, we cannot afford to miss any opportunities because a person’s wishes are unknown.

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Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry

This year’s Three Peaks Challenge, organised by Killarney Cycling Club will raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry. The June 15 event,  the only one day cycle event Down Syndrome Kerry […]

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This year’s Three Peaks Challenge, organised by Killarney Cycling Club will raise funds for Down Syndrome Kerry.

The June 15 event,  the only one day cycle event Down Syndrome Kerry is associated with this year, promises to be a fabulous day of cycling and fun!.

The 100km route challenges the stronger cyclists and the 75km route gives cyclists the chance to become familiar with Moll’s Gap which is part of the Ring of Kerry route.
The cycle sets out from Killarney, heading out the Cork Road. The 75km route (one peak) turns right at Loo Bridge for Kilgarvan and onto Kenmare, while the 100km route, (three peaks) heads over the county bounds to Ballyvourney, onto The Top of Coom and then Kenmare. Both routes continue on over Moll’s Gap, passing through the picturesque Ladies’ View and back into Killarney, where all participants will be treated to a burger and drink at the finish line.

“We will guarantee plenty of laughs and refreshments along the way, there are two routes available; 100km or 75km, to meet all abilities, covering some of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland. This is the perfect warm-up for anyone thinking of doing the Ring of Kerry cycle this year or anybody looking for a really well run sportive with great craic compulsory,” Chairperson of Killarney Cycling Club, Kevin Murphy.

All cyclists who register online will be entered into a raffle for some great spot prizes kindly donated by our sponsors, winners collecting their prize at the finish line.

Down Syndrome Kerry’s goal is to help people with down syndrome to make their own futures as bright and independent as possible by providing them with education, support and friendship every step of the way.
Funds raised from this cycle will help Down Syndrome to continue to provide vital services such as speech and language therapy, occupational therapy and job coaching to their members.
As Down Syndrome Kerry do not receive any government funding, they are totally dependent on your support to continue to make these services available to those who need them.
You can register for the cycle which is €40 for Cycling Ireland members, €20 for accompanied under 16’s on event master:- https://eventmaster.ie/event/dW04CnGSwV

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BAR 1661 is teaming up with Pig’s Lane for a night of cocktail mastery

BAR 1661, the winners of Ireland’s Bar of the Year 2022, are taking up temporary residency in Killarney’s first underground hotspot, Pig’s Lane for one night only on May 21. […]

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BAR 1661, the winners of Ireland’s Bar of the Year 2022, are taking up temporary residency in Killarney’s first underground hotspot, Pig’s Lane for one night only on May 21.

The dynamic team at Dublin’s BAR 1661, who have recently taken their talents to venues in Sweden, London, and the famous Dead Rabbit Bar in New York, are now hitting the road to Killarney for an epic takeover event.

Staunchly Irish and fiercely independent, BAR 1661 have two goals in mind; to introduce the world to Poitín and lift Irish cocktail culture to fresh heights.
Headed up by their founder Dave Mulligan, the Dublin team will transform Pig’s Lane on College Street for one night only. Since opening just a few months ago, Pig’s Lane has been raising the bar in Kerry with its cocktails, whiskey and wine offering. Kicking off at 6pm, experience a curated selection of Poitín-infused cocktails, featuring a bespoke rendition of BAR 1661’s drinks menu.

The crew will also serve up their unique take on the classic Irish Coffee with their Belfast Coffee, steeped with cold brew coffee, top-quality Irish Poitín, and rich demerara syrup. Guests will be able to chat with the team, get some insider knowledge on how to elevate their own cocktail-making skills, as well as learn insider tips on how to blend flavours to satisfy their own palette.

Two-time World Championship Mixologist and Drinks Development Manager for the O’Donoghue Ring Collection and Pig’s Lane, Ariel Sanecki said of the upcoming takeover: 

“We are very excited to welcome one of Ireland’s leading bars, BAR 1661, for an exclusive collaboration with us here at Pig’s Lane. This takeover is a great opportunity for people to meet with innovative mixologists who will be crafting bespoke creations right in front of them! We look forward to welcoming guests on the night, to what promises to be an epic event, featuring premium drink producers and unforgettable flavours.”

Before the takeover starts, drinks aficionados can join Dave for an intimate Poitín Masterclass. Attendees are invited to explore the diverse landscape of Poitín, accompanied by fascinating insights into its vibrant history and contemporary revival.

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