"I have two kidneys – but for the last few months I’ve been looking after one of them for a little 9 year old boy called Joshua!
I first heard about Joshua Dolan when his mother Mary made an appeal for a kidney donor through our local press here in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. He has just one kidney and with only 17% function requires three times a week dialysis sessions at the Children’s hospital in Belfast – that’s 500 miles each week to be hooked up for 12 hours to a dialysis machine – I simply had to help.
Following tests, including our superb and unique One Day Living Kidney Donor Assessment at the Belfast City Hospital Joshua and I now have our surgery date for Tuesday 18 May.
With Covid-19 still in mind I have been self-isolating, working from home and keeping contact to an absolute minimum for the last few weeks. It really is a matter of keeping fit and healthy for Josuha – I’m looking after his kidney for him until we have our surgery.
Throughout my 23 year service in the Police I have witnessed all aspects of human nature right across Northern Ireland – the good, sadly the bad, and yes… the ugly. I believe that, often behind the difficult headlines, our society has an amazing capacity to do good, to be beacons of hope in an atmosphere often clouded by darkness.
It always amazes me that Joshua’s smile can light up any room and that is despite going through such a difficult start in life
Northern Ireland’s living kidney donor programme, headed up by the amazing Dr. Aisling Courtney and her team, is envied across the World as it performs life-enhancing and life-saving surgery and it’s a privilege to be part of it’s continued success.
It always amazes me that Joshua’s smile can light up any room and that is despite going through such a difficult start in life, with sickness coming on so suddenly at a time when his peers enjoy the freedoms so cruelly denied to him.
He is a determined young boy and I want to match that determination with a sense of duty in becoming an altruistic living donor to him. Preparing to donate during Covid-19 has been tricky yet rewarding in many different ways. We have formed a strong bond over our numerous online chats and I’m delighted Joshua has such a burning interest to learn more about the police – it really does give him a buzz to know he is getting a kidney from a police officer and to see his winning smile post-surgery will be all the reward I need!
The support I am receiving from my family, colleagues and the medical teams has been truly tremendous.
It will be with an overwhelming sense of pride and duty that I undergo surgery to give him a quality of life every nine year old deserves to have!
I have two kidneys - I only need one and with an operation lasting roughly 4 hours - not much longer than one of Joshua’s dialysis sessions - I have it within me to release him.
It will be with an overwhelming sense of pride and duty that I undergo surgery to give him a quality of life every nine year old deserves to have! We all have it within us to become a life-saver and I encourage people reading this blog to have that conversation with their family members about Organ Donation because without family consenting it can’t take place! The Living Donor Coordinators at Belfast City Hospital are just a phone call away for anyone who is considering becoming a living donor to a loved one or, like me to someone you don’t know but who you know needs your help!
I have two kidneys – and I’m looking after one of them for Joshua."
19 May Update: We're delighted to say that the operation was a complete success and both Joshua and Graham are recovering well!
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