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'So grateful' Special Mother's Day for Dubliner Claire Cody who donated kidney to her daughter (14)

I can’t wait for the restrictions and lockdown to be over so that we can celebrate properly with our friends and family. For Mother’s Day, we will pamper mam, we will make the most of being together and my dad will cook for us.”

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Claire and Sophie on the day they were reunited in Temple Street Hospital

Claire and Sophie on the day they were reunited in Temple Street Hospital

Claire and Sophie on the day they were reunited in Temple Street Hospital

A Dublin woman who donated a kidney to her sick teenage daughter just over three months ago can look forward to some extra pampering on Mother’s Day after her selfless act.

Claire Cody donated one of her kidneys to daughter Sophie (14) last year.

On the morning of Monday, November 30, Claire from Skerries, was wheeled down to the operating theatre in Beaumont Hospital, for the removal of one of her healthy kidneys by transplant surgeon Dilly Little.

The retrieved kidney was then rushed across the city to Temple Street Hospital, where surgeon Gordon Smith and his team were waiting to perform the transplant operation on Sophie.

After the successful operation it would be nearly two weeks before mother and daughter would see each other again, on December 12 and two more days before Sophie could return home.

Both mother and daughter took the opportunity to get some fresh air on their local strand in Skerries for a photo opportunity, organised by the Irish Kidney Association (IKA), to celebrate Mother’s Day.

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Sophie Cody on the first day her mother got to visit her in Temple Street after their living donor kidney transplant operation.

Sophie Cody on the first day her mother got to visit her in Temple Street after their living donor kidney transplant operation.

Sophie Cody on the first day her mother got to visit her in Temple Street after their living donor kidney transplant operation.

“I am so grateful to have received the gift of a kidney from my mother and I feel so much better now,” Sophie said.

“I can’t wait for the restrictions and lockdown to be over so that we can celebrate properly with our friends and family. For Mother’s Day, we will pamper mam, we will make the most of being together and my dad will cook for us.”

Claire added: “We have both recovered well since our operations and are grateful that Sophie is back to good health. However, the challenge now is to keep her safe as she will be taking immune suppressants for the rest of her life.”

Claire said it had been an emotional journey for all the family since Sophie’s shock diagnosis two years ago, when she was suddenly catapulted into kidney failure and hospital dialysis treatment at Temple Street Hospital.

“Our world was turned upside down and it took an emotional toll on Sophie as she was coming into her teenage years,” Claire said. “

"Then Covid-19 came along and that compounded our anxiety levels. Sophie went to skin and bone and she was very pale but since her transplant she is putting on weight again and she looks really healthy now, with colour back in her cheeks and she has a positive outlook.”

In the days that followed post-transplant, mother and daughter remained in two different hospitals, eagerly waiting to be reunited with one another.

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Sophie with her father Damian three days after the transplant operation

Sophie with her father Damian three days after the transplant operation

Sophie with her father Damian three days after the transplant operation

“It felt very surreal when I woke up from my operation,” Claire revealed. “All I wanted was to see that Sophie was ok and to hug her but we had to settle for FaceTime.

"It was an emotional reunion for both of us when I finally got to visit her in Temple Street on the same day I was discharged from Beaumont, five days after my surgery and seventeen days after I last saw her, as she was admitted to Temple Street a few days prior to her operation.

“For almost three weeks, Sophie was confined to her hospital room. Obviously, there was very valid safety reasons for this measure but for our 14-year-old, with all her renewed energy from the successful transplant, she felt isolated and was going ‘doolally’ as she longed for the day she could finally go home.”

Damian Cody left his wife at the doors of Beaumont Hospital the day before her operation and didn’t get to see her again until six days later.

He was allowed some restricted visits to see Sophie but was also separated from his youngest daughter Amy (11) who left the family home two weeks before the transplant operations to allow her other family members to cocoon safely.

Claire and Sophie paid tribute to the medical, nursing staff and transplant teams at both Temple Street and Beaumont and transplant surgeons Gordon Smyth and Dilly Little and, to the staff in Michael’s C Ward in Temple Street who cared for Sophie when she was receiving dialysis.

They also said a big ‘thank you’ to John the taxi driver, who ferried Sophie to and from the hospital, and also to Paddy Cox of Dialyze Clothing, who sent Sophie a big hamper just before she went to hospital for her transplant.

“We’d also like to thank our extended family for their loving care throughout and to our friends and neighbours who sent us messages of support,” they said.

“Our thanks also to Sophie’s teachers and the principal at Skerries Community School for supporting her. We also would like to acknowledge how supportive the staff at Brady’s pharmacy in Skerries have been for Sophie’s medication needs.

“I was lucky to be a suitable donor to Sophie but there are many other children and adults who don’t have the opportunity for a living donor, and they remain on transplant waiting lists,” Claire added.

“Two years ago, we had no idea that Sophie would experience organ failure and that’s why I would encourage people to consider organ donation as you never know if, someday, a member of your family will find themselves in the same situation that we suddenly did.”

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