Eight years ago, Fintan Clooney, a 46-year-old bachelor who lives in Birr, Co Offaly, made an appointment to see his doctor when his legs became very swollen.
After a series of tests, Fintan was diagnosed with kidney disease and was told he would need a transplant. Although Fintan’s kidney function was declining, with careful management of his condition he staved off dialysis treatment for four years until he eventually progressed to complete kidney failure. He then commenced haemodialysis treatment at the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore. All the while Fintan's energy and concentration levels were depleting and he was confined to a strict diet with limited fluid intake.
In an act of selflessness, Fintan's brother, father of Joe Clooney (age 50 ) from Moate, secretly underwent testing to determine whether he could be a living kidney donor. Joe did not disclose this with anyone, including his ailing brother, until it was confirmed by Beaumont Hospital that he was a suitable match.
The two Midlands brothers underwent a living donor kidney transplant operation last July and both have both enjoyed continuous good health since.
Both men are eager to share their story to create awareness about the importance of organ donation.
"I decided to donate because I could see how sick Fintan looked," Joe said. "I feel no different physically now than I did before the transplant and I don't feel like there is anything missing."
Fintan says the transplant has made a huge difference to him both from a physical and psychological perspective.
"I feel like a young man again thanks to my generous brother Joe," he said. "My transplant has given me a new lease of life; I'm full of energy and I have much more clarity of mind than before and am full of positivity. My diet and fluid intake is no longer restricted. I returned to work in October in a full-time position as I had to cut back on my hours before to manage my illness and attend dialysis sessions.
"I would urge everyone to discuss organ donation, and by doing this more lives will be saved."
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Associatio, LoCall (1890 ) 543639 or by texting the word 'DONOR' to 50050.