‘I’ve got my life back thanks to my donor family’

The Irish Times | Adolf Valentine 
Jonny Quigley, who has had a kidney transplant, with his wife Clodagh, and children Hannah (12, with Jules the dog), Charlie (10), and Rachael (7). Photograph: Dave Meehan/The Irish Times
Jonny Quigley was one of 153 people who received a kidney transplant last year. Last March, he received a call at 2am from Beaumont hospital after five months on the waiting list, saying they had found a match for him.

The usual wait time for a kidney in Ireland is 3½ years, but his rare AB+ blood type and the fact that he had no antibodies in his blood meant that if a kidney that would match him became available, there were few other people on the list who it would be suitable for.

“I had a dialysis session that morning, and I thought it was a dream. I was with Clodagh, my wife, and I asked her to pinch me because I really thought I was dreaming. You live for this because you know it’s an opportunity to get some sort of life back,” says Quigley.

He found out he had polycystic kidneys when he was 29 after his sister had received the same diagnosis. It is a genetic condition that causes fluid-filled cysts to form on the kidneys, gradually decreasing kidney function. By the time Quigley was 42 in 2011, he had just over 15 per cent kidney function, he was suffering from gout, high blood pressure, constant nausea, a complete lack of energy and he was constantly cold. Continue reading
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