How Tempo woman’s act of bravery saved her brother’s life

Donor, Margaret McQuaid and brother and recipient, Brendan McQuaid.  DP112

Donor, Margaret McQuaid and brother and recipient, Brendan McQuaid. DP112

A 30-year-old Tempo woman donated her kidney to help save her brother’s life after a routine health check discovered he had developed a potentially life-threatening kidney disease.

Brendan McQuaid, 41, said his sister Margaret’s act of bravery means he can now lead a long and healthy life, free from a gruelling eight hour daily dialysis.


The Irvinestown man said he was in a state of shock after a doctors told him five years ago that he had developed IgA Nephropathy – a deadly progressive disease which could put him on dialysis for the rest of his life.

However, following a number of check-ups it was discovered that his kidneys were declining more rapidly than doctor’s anticipated and he was immediately put on the donor list.

“Doctors thought the disease would not progress for another 20 years but then two years later in September 2011 I was a PD (pertinent dialysis) patient and had to go on dialysis for two years,” he said.

“My sisters put their names forward to be possible donors and they were both a perfect match. That came as a shock to me because it’s quite rare.

“It was a life saving operation for me and with the condition of my health deteriorating they (doctors) didn’t put a date on it but they said this would shorten my life if you don’t get a kidney transplant.

When they tell you that it’s quite daunting and frightening and they maintained from the start the best option is a kidney transplant.

“I’m very thankful to Margaret for coming forward and giving me the opportunity to get a better quality life.”


But Margaret, who now lives in England, admits they were apprehensive about the success of the transplant after learning of the agony GAA TV analyst Joe Brolly suffered when an operation to donate his kidney to a friend had failed.

“But ours, thankfully, was a resounding success,” she said.

“There’s always a downside – they don’t lead you or give you false hope. They explain the implications and they leave you in no doubt there is some people who will reject it.

“They’re meticulous in explaining the risks. But the benefits of a kidney transplant seriously outweigh the risks.”

Brendan, who is now recovering at home, was told that there was a 90 per cent chance the transplant would be a success.

Speaking about the operation he said: “It felt frightening and daunting but I was a lot calmer than I thought I would be because I had a long, long time to think and worry about this.

“But if I didn’t get it done I knew it would shorten my life. I think everyone is in denial at a certain point – but there’s something seriously wrong if you’re not worried about it.

“Our experience at the City Hospital in Belfast was very good – from surgeons, doctors and nurses, they were exceptional. They are very attentive and professional.”

Five weeks following the operation and Brendan’s recovery is going so well that his medication has been reduced by half and while he says the wound is sore and tender, the initial signs are good.

Margaret and Brendan said they would like to thank all their family and friends for their kind words and well-wishes and would also like to thank the staff and management at Pinsapo Restaurant and the

Nally Stand for kindly donating vouchers and raffle tickets.

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