Punchestown is organ donor awareness time

Punchestown is organ donor awareness time

Jockey Elizabeth O'Shaughnessy from Kildare, promoting organ donor cards.
As Punchestown Week starts, it's also that time of year when local organ donor cause champion James Nolan gets to see the positive of his own early kidney troubles, the running of the Charity Race he founded, on the last day of the Festival, writes Brian Byrne.

"It's hard to believe it's already that time of year again," says James, who received a kidney transplant from his sister Catherine Doyle on the 25th July 1987. It was a life saving donation that James describes as the greatest gift that one human being can give to another and that is The Gift of Life. Without this, James was facing a life on dialysis.

It's the 29th running of the race, which funds the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund, and involves 25 amateur riders battling it out, most of whom will not have raced before.

James has ridden in the race himself 13 times and won it on Nero’s Dancer in 2002, an experience he describes as one of the highlights of his life. Fortunately, over 30 years later, both Catherine and James are healthy and well and looking forward to the Festival at Punchestown.

The 25 Jockeys for this year's race are Stephen Thorne, Dublin; Orla Donworth, Kildare; Kirsty Campbell, Carlow; Emma Connolly, Meath; Zoe Donohoe, Meath; Karen Moore, Kildare; Sarah Neville, Tipperary; Stephen McGuire, Dublin; Conor Strain, Antrim; Rachel Sweeney, Cork; Paddy Woods, Meath; Anne Widger, Tipperary; Louise Lynn, Dublin; John Stagg, Mayo; David O'Neill, Westmeath; Alvin Barry, Kildare; Geraldine Gleeson, Dublin; Bertram Allen, Wexford; Sorcha Woods, Kildare; Caolann O Conaola, Galway; Dermot Duffy, Galway; Sarah Jane Denny, York, England; Elizabeth O'Shaughessy, Kildare; Tina Condon, Cork; and Ian Cribbin, Kildare.

Each will have raised a minimum of €1,500 in sponsorship to take part.

Since 1990 the PKRF has raised over €1.4m which has been divided amongst various projects that help improve the quality of life for patients on dialysis, maximise the lifespan of the transplanted kidney, suppports medical research projects that will help people with kidney disease, and promotes Organ Donor Awareness.

During 2016 and 2017, for instance, €150,000 was donated to open a new renal unit at Temple Street Children’s Hospital in December 2017 in Dublin. In addition, €100,000 was committed to support two kidney-related research projects under the guidance of the Irish Nephrology Society.

A further €20,000 was committed to continue Art Therapy programmes for dialysis patients in Tallaght and Waterford Dialysis Units, and €5,000 was provided for a Sports Programme for Kidney Patients

For more information please contact James Nolan at 086/2349919 — or visit www.pkrf.ie.

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