A dedicated wife and mother, a businesswoman, an artist, and above all, a lady, these are the words used by friends and loved ones to describe Elizabeth Maloney, a co-founder of the Galway Branch of the Irish Kidney Association, who passed away a month ago.
Mrs Maloney’s long association and work with the Irish Kidney Association began in 1978 not long after receiving a successful kidney transplant. Mrs Maloney, who had the second longest surviving kidney transplant in Ireland and the longest in the west of the country, went on to make her mark within the Irish Kidney Association and worked hard to promote organ donation and the gift of life.
Paying tribute at the funeral Mass held on February 3 last, Angeline Cooke of the Galway branch of the Irish Kidney Association said: “I first met Elizabeth in July 1977 when we were both on dialysis together in Merlin Park. Then on January 30, 1978, just over 33 years ago, Elizabeth joyfully received her successful kidney transplant.
“That same year the Irish Kidney Association was founded. She attended the initial exploratory meetings in Curran’s Hotel, Eyre Square, and then the inaugural meeting in the now demolished Jervis St Hospital in Dublin. When asked to be the first Galway representative on the newly-formed national executive, now the national board, she did not hesitate. This involved travelling to Dublin once a month for mettings, as well as attending the monthly branch meetings. Remember that she was newly transplanted; it was not long since she had lost her beloved husband Johnnie; she had six young children and a business to run - Maloney’s shop. It was no mean undertaking.
“At branch level Elizabeth was chairperson for a number of years, PRO, and above all, was our branch honorary treasurer for 17 years. Her meticulous book-keeping and careful allocation of monies to our various projects was indicative of her methodical, diligent, and dedicated approach to everything she did,” she said.
Just some of the many projects Mrs Maloney helped organise were the annual church gate collection, fund-raising dances, presentations of dialysis machines and medical equipment to Merlin Park Hospital, trips to Lourdes, as well as Organ Donor Awareness Week.
Elizabeth Maloney (nee Riley ) of Dangan Heights, Newcastle, was born in Liverpool on March 3, 1927. She came to Galway on holiday meeting her future husband, Johnnie - a member of the Order of Malta. Following a seven year courtship the couple married and she came to live in Galway setting up home initially in St Patrick’s Avenue, working in the shop in Francis Street, and they had six children.
Johnnie died in September 1976, and in June, 1977, Mrs Maloney was diagnosed with renal failure due to polycystic kidney disease. She went on haemo-dialysis which meant spending a minimum of five hours, three times a week, attached to a kidney machine in Merlin Park Hospital. She received a kidney transplant in January 1978 and this served her well for 33 years until she suffered an acute infection in her kidney last December. Mrs Maloney was hospitalised on December 1 and died peacefully in Merlin Park University Hospital on February 2, 2011. A month’s mind mass is to take place this Sunday, March 6, at 11am in the Abbey Church, St Francis Street, Galway.