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Lung Transplant Recipient, Paddy O’Mahony, Organises Fundraising Cycle with the Dublin Fire Brigade to Raise Awareness of Lung Fibrosis and Organ Donation and Funds for ILFA
Sunday, 25th May 2014 at 9.30am: lung transplant recipient and former IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis) patient, Paddy O’Mahony, will join a host of personalities, Dublin Fire Brigade members and friends on a 40KM and 100KM cycle to increase awareness of lung fibrosis and the importance of organ donation, and to raise funds for the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association, (ILFA). Senator Feargal Quinn and GAA star Michael Darragh MacAuley will give the starters orders at the fire brigade training grounds in Marino to get the cycle underway.
Fundraiser and organiser, Paddy O’Mahony said, ‘I was diagnosed with IPF in April 2010 in Beaumont Hospital and my life expectancy at that time was just three years – I had a very aggressive form of IPF and needed oxygen each and every day. In 2012, it was decided by my doctors that I met the criteria to be put on the transplant list and in early 2013, I received a lung transplant. The transplant and the help and support that the doctors, nurses and surgeons gave me over the years from my diagnosis to the transplant, was enormous - my life has changed dramatically. It is the organ donors and their families that make this change possible, and from here on in, my focus is to promote organ donation and the powerful part it can play in ordinary people’s lives like mine.’
IPF is a chronic, debilitating and life-limiting lung disease of unknown cause. Patients with IPF develop progressive and severe breathlessness and fatigue and struggle do to everyday tasks. There is no cure for IPF, but lung transplantation is a life-saving treatment for many patients who meet the strict criteria to undergo the complex operation. Patients who receive a lung transplant usually have a very good prognosis with improved health and wellbeing.
Since 2006, more than 70 lung transplants have been carried out at the National Lung Transplant Unit at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital in Dublin. In 2013, a record 31 lung transplant operations were performed and 12 of these were in IPF patients. However, there are over 650 people waiting on life saving organ transplant operations in Ireland for lungs, hearts, kidneys, liver and pancreas.
ILFA patron, Senator Feargal Quinn is a vocal supporter of organ donation - he first raised the issue of a *soft-opt out organ donation system for Ireland in his Human Body Organs and Human Tissue Bill 2008 and has continued to campaign for its introduction. ‘I was really pleased with our government’s decision to raise the issue of the soft-opt out organ donation system and propose a revision to the current organ donation model. I think it’s a progressive step forward, and believe that many lives could be saved by introducing the soft opt out model. I have seen first-hand what a debilitating disease IPF is, and for many patients a transplant is vital for survival,’ said Senator Feargal Quinn.
Two cycle races will take place on Sunday, 25th May at 9.30am; a 40KM and 100KM cycle from the fire brigade training grounds in Marino. For more information on ILFA, the cycle and how donate, visit www.ilfa.ie.Find ILFA on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/ILFAIreland or follow ILFA on Twitter @ILFA_Ireland
Notes to Editors:
*The soft-opt out organ donation system means that a person will be assumed to be an organ donor unless they have decided that they do not wish to donate their organs in the case of unforeseen death and have “opted-out”. The patient’s next of kin will always be asked for their consent in order for organ donation to go ahead. ILFA also supports the introduction of a “soft opt-out system” of organ donation.
ILFA was founded in 2002 to honour the memory of Fergus Goodbody who died from Lung Fibrosis. ILFA was set up by Nicky Goodbody, Terence Moran, Marie Sheridan, and Professor Jim Egan. The primary aims of the Irish Lung Fibrosis Association are to provide a source of information and support to people with the condition and to provide funding for research and the development of new treatments for Lung Fibrosis.
ILFA is funded solely by donations and the fundraising efforts of our supporters are vitally important for the continued existence of our research and education programmes.
ILFA recognises the special expertise and talents of transplant coordinators, surgeons, doctors, nurses and the allied healthcare professionals who care for patients who undergo transplants with wonderful dedication, compassion and skill. This success of the organ transplantation programme in Ireland would not be possible without the incredible generosity of the donor families.
Fibrosis, (the development of scar tissue in the lungs), causes the lungs to become stiff, thus preventing the effective transfer of oxygen from the blood to the lungs. IPF is more commonly seen in men than women, mostly between the ages of 60 and 80 years, although it can occur in younger people. Patients develop extreme breathlessness, fatigue, cough and ultimately respiratory failure, requiring those living with IPF to rely heavily on oxygen therapy 24 hours a day. There are currently no drug treatments available to cure IPF.