Kildare woman, Orla Tinsley's campaign to raise organ donation awareness a success

Newbridge woman's recovery from double lung transplant continues apace

Conor McHugh


Conor McHugh


Orla Tinsley's campaign to raise organ donation awareness proving a success

Orla Tinsley, recovering in New York's Presbyterian Hospital,

As Orla Tinsley continues her recovery from a double lung transplant, her regular calls to the public to carry an organ donor card is bearing fruit according to a spokesperson for the Irish Kidney Association (IKA).

“Orla’s story and her consistent call for people to get an organ donor card and have the all-important family conversation about their wishes has certainly had a significant impact on the number of organ donor card requests we received over the Christmas period as can be witnessed by the extensive twitter traffic generated,” a spokesperson told the Leinster Leader.

Ms Tinsley had her lung transplant on December 20 last at New York's Presbyterian Hospital. She had been placed on life support shortly before her transplant. The suitable pair of lungs were the seventh pair she had been considered for, but the previous six had proven unsuitable.

Soon after the New Year, the Cystic Fibrosis campaigner posted on social media that “every day feels like such a miracle. I have so much more energy than before and my motto will help conquer this journey: “Be the tortoise, not the hare” what a beautiful way to start the new year!

“I am so grateful for my donor. I am so grateful to their family. I can’t wait until a few weeks from now when I’m running and swimming!”

She said that her new year’s resolution “is to honor my donor every day through exercise, hard work and gratitude”.

And her recovery continues apace. Yesterday, Tuesday, she posted that she couldn’t “wait to get outside again and breathe in the fresh air - even if it is freezing out there!

“Today I smashed a serious goal towards this. Today, after two weeks hard work, I walked 400m. It felt amazing. My body was tired but my lungs were not. I am so grateful to my donor and I am constantly amazed at my new lungs. I am thankful for my PT team for their encouragement!”

According to the Department of Health, 308 transplants were carried out in Irish hospitals in 2017, 28 more than last year. Statistics show there were 190 kidney, 61 liver, five pancreas, 36 lung, and 16 heart transplants. There were 149 organ donations, the most ever recorded, compared with 127 in 2016.

A spokesperson for the IKA explained that Ms Tinsley is one of several people who have been involved in tranplants who have campaigned for people to carry donor cards, all of which is raising awareness.

“Cork woman Isabel Terry who received a long awaited double lung transplant in the UK returned to Ireland just in time for Christmas and she has also been a very active social media campaigner and has been in main stream media too promoting the organ donor card.”

Over the Christmas break the IKA ran a series of radio adverts, for the first time in a number of years, promoting the organ donor card featuring RTE reporter Vivienne Traynor.

“All these combined, along with some active work from our own on social media accounts, pushed our donor card requests to over 1,100 in the 10 day period. This is a multiple of what we have received over the same period in previous years. 

“What is commendable about the work of Orla, Isabel and many others is that their promotion of the organ donor card is selfless. They have their own stories but they understand that there is a bigger picture with many others waiting and their impact has been extremely positive in increasing the number of organ donor card requests and in so doing increasing the hope of those awaiting the call for a transplant.”

 To get your organ donor card Freetext DONOR to 50050 or click here  and fill in your details.

Read more: Orla Tinsley's recovery from double lung transplant continues

Read more: Orla Tinsley, Newbridge CF campaigner, on life support in US; appeals for public to carry organ donor cards

Read more: UPDATE: Kildare's Orla Tinsley's double lung transplant completed