A THANKFUL Drumsurn grandmother has highlighted the importance of organ donation as she marked a major milestone, last week, with her family and friends.
Bernie Loughrey, 61, is celebrating the 40th anniversary of her kidney transplant.
Bernie received her new kidney on August 16 1979, making her the longest living organ recipient in the Western Trust area.
Bernie was only 20 years old when her kidneys failed and she required intense treatment and a transplant.
She received her dialysis, transplant and immediate follow-up care at Belfast City Hospital.
She has been a patient of Altnagelvin’s Renal Unit since it opened in 2006, and attends twice a year for a routine check-up.
Speaking about life since her transplant, Bernie said: “Following my transplant 40 years ago, I have had three children, who are all grown up now. I also have one grandchild, Mia.
“I lead a normal, healthy life and I am told my kidney function is almost perfect.
“I received my kidney from an unknown donor and I feel it’s essential to highlight this and the importance of organ donation.”
Caroline McCloskey, Renal Transplant Specialist Nurse said: “In 2018 there were 116 people who received a kidney transplant.
“Approximately half of kidney transplants are from living donors who are relatives of the person needing the transplant. The other half are from ‘unknown donors’ who are deceased and have consented to organ donation.
“It is great that we can share Bernie’s excellent success story as we approach Organ Donation Week at the start of September.”