"Transplantation works - Please, please people, carry a donor card"

This year's Organ Donor Awareness Week is running from the 2nd to 9th of April

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Image: RollingNews.ie

Around 550 people in Ireland are waiting for life-saving organ donor transplants.

Next week marks Organ Donor Awareness Week, which runs from the 2nd to 9th of April.

Maurice Kavanagh has had a heart and kidney transplant, as well as surviving cancer.

He said when he first found out he needed a transplant he thought it was a death sentence.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, Maurice explained that "I never heard of a heart transplant - I reckon it's only when it lands on your own doorstep that you sort of come to terms with it and do more research on it.

"It was like a death sentence - that's what I thought it was. I thought 'never in a million years am I going to get a heart'," he added.

Maurice explained that after two false alarms he finally received the call guaranteeing his transplant.

"I was at home making a pot of stew, and my bleeper went off... You have a five-hour timeframe to get from where you are to the Mater Hospital... Thankfully I wasn't too far away".

Maurice is encouraging people to get a donor card if they have not already. "I look at myself... 21 years this year I have a heart, and five years a kidney... Please, please people - carry a donor card," he concluded.

You can find full details of how to get a donor card here.