Londonderry woman’s life transformed by kidney transplant

Gary McCorkell and his sister Sharon pictured at her home in home in the Waterside
Gary McCorkell and his sister Sharon pictured at her home in home in the Waterside

A Londonderry woman has spoken of how her life has been transformed in the six months since her brother donated a kidney to her.

Sharon McCorkell and her brother Gary have now urged others to consider joining the donor register to potentially give others the gift of life.

Sharon fell sick in late 2014 and went to see a doctor that December.

“That’s when I started to get really poorly,” she said.

“Both kidneys had failed. I was sort of relieved when I heard what it was because I wasn’t feeling well, tired, no energy and just feeling sick. That was going on for a few months before that.”

The 43-year-old Gobnascale woman was on dialysis for some months and her condition continued to deteriorate.

At one stage, her renal function was recorded at just five per cent, and she was told a transplant was needed.

The family had been tested some months prior to the actual transplant, and Sharon’s elder brother Gary, 46, was found to be a match.

“He said to me from the start, ‘If you need one I’ll be giving you one’,” Sharon said. “And he did, he stuck to his word.”

The operation went ahead at the City Hospital in Belfast on September 30, with Gary released the next day.

Sharon said she too recovered quickly from the three-hour operation.

“I felt great. You just feel brilliant, more energy now. My colour was terrible before, my eyes were dead.”

The brother and sister have now urged others to join the donor register.

“We would urge people to come forward now,” Gary said, while Sharon added: “It really is the gift of life.”