Parents of Kildare's Orla Tinsley attend Irish Kidney Association’s service to commemorate organ donors

Campaigner Orla Tinsley had a successful double lung transplant

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Parents of Kildare's Orla Tinsley attend Irish Kidney Association’s service to commemorate organ donors

Brian and Patricia Tinsley, from Newbridge

Brian and Patricia Tinsley, from Newbridge, the parents of campaigner Orla Tinsley, whose RTÉ documentary ‘Orla Tinsley - Warrior’ led to a surge of over 7000 requests for donor cards after it was aired in September 2018, attended the Irish Kidney Association's annual service in honour of organ donors.

The Irish Kidney Association’s 34th Annual Service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving was attended by a congregation of close to 2000, when it was held in Corpus Christi Church, Homefarm Road, Dublin 9 last Saturday, October 5, to honour organ donors and their families.

Patricia Tinsley carried the ‘Book of Remembrance’ to the altar. The annual service, which is now in its 34th year, also marks the anniversary of the production of the ‘Book of Remembrance’. This ‘Roll of Honour’ has been an integral part of the Service since its inception with the names of organ and tissue donors inscribed by calligrapher Annette Daly from Glenageary, Co Dublin.  

Taking part in the ecumenical Service were courageous families of deceased organ donors and living donors and grateful transplant recipients of heart, lungs, liver, kidney, pancreas and bone marrow.  Also attending the service were members of the wider organ donation and transplant community, including donor and transplant coordinators and medical, surgical and nursing staff.

This symbolic service is a mixture of sadness and joy for the families of organ donors and transplant recipients alike.  For many donor families this unique service has become an anniversary to both remember their loved ones, and for transplant recipients, the opportunity to honour and give thanks for the wonderful ‘gift of life’ they have received.

Other symbolic moments in the Service included processions involving organ donor families together with organ transplant recipients bringing gifts to the Altar.

Among the deceased organ donors remembered at the Service was the late John Byrne (39) from Oldtown, Dublin. John who is deeply missed by his family since his death following a road traffic incident at a pedestrian crossing had Downs Syndrome.  John’s younger loving sister Áine Byrne took part in the procession of gifts taking a candle to the Altar.  Aine’s parents Barbara and Tom Byrne also attended along with her brother Daire. 

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Paul McAuliffe also took a candle to the Altar.  Una Doolan from Roscommon town brought ‘Forget me Not flowers’, the symbol of transplantation, to the Altar. Her late uncle John Killoran, from Riverstown, Co Sligo passed away in 1991 and three people benefited from his donation. 

Jack O’Riordan (age 3) from Longwood, Co Meath, who will require a combined kidney and liver transplant, brought his favourite toy, a ukulele, to the altar, accompanied by his mother Michelle, a nurse at Tallaght Hospital. Carrying a large Organ Donor Card was Lorraine Corrigan, a mother of two from Ratoath, Co Meath who underwent a kidney transplant 24 years ago when she was 10 years old.

Members of the medical community were among the readers at the Service. The first and second readings were read by Transplant Surgeon at Beaumont Hospital Dilly Little and Prof. Jim Egan, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation Ireland (ODTI) respectively.  A ‘Prayer of Thanksgiving’ was read by Caroline Lynch, Organ Donor Coordinator, ODTI.  Aoife Coffey, Recipient Transplant Co-ordinator, St. Vincent’s University Hospital said the third reflection which followed the first reflection by Rev. Alan Bowl, Presbyterian Church and second by Eoin Madden from Athenry, Galway who has returned to dialysis treatment following kidney transplant.

Each member of the congregation was invited to carry a lit candle to the Altar, to the accompanying music of the Pro Nuova Music Group Choir which has performed at the annual service since 2016. Members of Transplant Team Ireland, who participated in the World Transplant Games and the British Transplant Games this summer also took part in the emotive ‘Service of Light’.  

This year’s Ecumenical Service was led by Monsignor Martin O'Shea, Parish Priest of Corpus Christi Church, Archdeacon Gordon Linney, retired Archdeacon of the Church of Ireland, Dublin and Rector of St Paul's Glenageary, Reverend William Black, retired Rector of the Parish of Drumcondra, North Strand and St. Barnabas and Reverend Alan Boal, Minister at the Abbey Presbyterian Church in North inner city Dublin. All Clergy have faithfully participated in this unique Service for many years.

For organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card  You can also download the IKA’s digital organ donor card on your smartphone. Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is indicated on the back of the card by code 115.