The Story of My Eyes
Michael O'Connor is a ten year old boy who lives with his older brother Mark (13) and Mum and Dad in Dublin. He is much the same as any other 10 year old boy - loves playing music, playing with his toys and hanging out with his brother - except for one major difference - Michael is visually impaired. Michael was born blind but had cornea transplants in each eye by the time he was 5 months old. This worked for ten years bringing Michael approx 20% vision until last year things took a turn for the worst. His eyesight deteriorated so that he now has only approximately 5% vision.
This positive story explains through Michael's own words what it's like to live in his world. How does Michael cope in school? For example how does a visually impaired child complete their homework? We look at the assistive technology available for people with visual impairments in today's society. We also explore what effect does this have on the family? How does a family overcome the normal everyday obstacles that we take for granted? And most of all how does a family prepare for the worst and cope with the possibility that Michael's sight could go forever?
The Greatest Gift
This story looks at kidney transplants in Ireland - both living and deceased donors. We explore three separate stories -
Lorna wants to donate her kidney to her brother Philip but they are currently awaiting the operation. Philip (20) was born with Dyplastic Kidneys and has had two previous kidney transplants one when he was 4 and one when he was 15. He has to undergo 3.5 hours 3 times a week of dialysis in Beaumont which he finds very tiring. He is an apprentice carpenter and his boss is very understanding and he would be unable to finish his apprenticeship if his boss wasn't so understanding.
His sister Lorna went through tests last Autumn but they are currently waiting to hear back whether the living tranplant programme will go ahead, so that they might finally be able to go through with the operation.
Joe McCarthy is a taxi driver. He had a kidney transplant 17 years ago, but because of a genetic disorder he has been rejecting the kidney for a number of years. He lives in constant threat of renal failure. His body is very sensitive to sunlight and as a result he must drive his taxi after dark.
As the main breadwinner for his family, he is extremely worried about the finances of his family, if he were to become too ill to work. He knows they would have difficulty surviving without his income. He is currently on the transplant list.
Brendan Gregory (39) - gave one of his kidneys to Owen (6), his son, 2 years ago. Owen was in renal failure from 2 weeks old. He was on dialysis for the next 4 years.
He was on APD dialysis which can be administered from home throughout the night. Owen went on the transplant list. Then the doctors recommended that Owen have a living transplant. Both Brendan and his wife, Tracy, have the same blood type as Owen. However by this time, Tracy had just had her fourth child, Katie, and so it was recommended that Brendan donate the kidney. It took a year from when Brendan was tested to the transplant.
Before the transplant, Owen had never eaten anything orally. In only one month after the transplant Owen was eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is much better at walking now and even plays football.
Michael O' Connor & Organ Transplants:
National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI)
1850 33 43 53
Irish Kidney Association
LoCall Donor House 1890-456556
Visiting Teacher Service
Royal National Institiute for the Blind
St. Joseph's School & Services for the Visually Impaired
Grace Park Rd,
Tel: 01 8373635
Fax: 01 8368403
41 Main Street
Tel: 01 4931896
Fax: 01 4901541
National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI),
Tel: 1850 33 43 53