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  • Northside East

Man moves house to be closer to his treatment centre

Wednesday, 30th March, 2016 8:00am

Story by Pat O'Rourke
Man moves house to be closer to his treatment centre

Stephen Fox pictured at the Northern Cross Dialysis Centre. He moved from Lucan to Donaghmede to be closer to the centre. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

Man moves house to be closer to his treatment centre

Stephen Fox pictured at the Northern Cross Dialysis Centre. He moved from Lucan to Donaghmede to be closer to the centre. PHOTO: DARREN KINSELLA

A LOCAL man, awaiting a kidney transplant, moved from the Southside to the Northside to be nearer the centre where he undergoes dialysis treatment.

Stephen Fox (62) told his story ahead of Organ Donor Awareness Week, which takes place from April 2-9.

In 2007, Stephen, his wife Colette and daughter Sarah moved from Lucan to Donaghmede to be closer to Beaumont Hospital.

A diabetic since 1992, Stephen discovered in 2005 that his kidney function was beginning to fail. It declined considerably three years ago thus necessitating dialysis treatment. 

While he waits to get onto the kidney transplant list, Stephen now undergoes four-hour dialysis sessions three days a week from 7am.

In the last two and a half years, he has been able to access his treatment at Northern Cross Dialysis Centre, an off-site haemodialysis satellite unit for Beaumont Hospital patients.  

“I am so grateful that I only have to travel five minutes from home to get my dialysis,” Stephen told Northside People.

“It wasn’t a difficult a decision to move to the Northside. I had a few friends over this side so it wasn’t as if I didn’t know anybody.

“Not having to travel far has made a huge difference to my life. It is great for my peace of mind, knowing that if something goes wrong, the hospital is only a few minutes away.

“We were lucky that we moved at the time we did and were able to sell up, just before the recession hit.”

Stephen, a former soldier, said being on dialysis three times a week is gruelling and often he is sapped of energy for the rest of the day after each session. 

“It’s a tiredness you can’t explain, but it’s all worth it as you realise it’s saving your life,” he said.

When told he would need a kidney transplant, Stephen said it was very hard to take the news.  

“Life is short and it puts everything into perspective,” he said.

Stephen is hoping that it won’t be long before he is accepted onto the transplant list. However, to achieve that, he must get his Body Mass Index (BMI) lowered. He has also suffered complications with high blood pressure recently.  

“My BMI is currently 36.2 and I need to get it down to under 35,” he said. 

“I’m fortunate that when I do get on the list, I have members of my family and friends willing to become living donors and they would like to be assessed for donation.”

Stephen said a new kidney would make a big difference to his quality of life as he finds his condition very restrictive.

“I used to love travelling which is very difficult to do now,” he said. 

“Hopefully, if I get the transplant, and it is a success, I will be able to travel again.”

Despite undergoing dialysis, Stephen still has the energy to get involved in fundraising events for the Irish Kidney Association (IKA).

“Myself and Colette, have been fundraising with the Northside branch of IKA for a few years,” he said. 

“They are a fantastic organisation and do great work. I really like their counselling service which has made a big difference.”

Stephen is no stranger to fundraising.

“I did it for 25 years with the Irish Red Cross,” he added. “I have no problem asking people for money!”

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association, LoCall 1890 543639 or Freetext the word DONOR to 50050.

Also, it is now possible to store an organ donor card, the ‘ecard’ on Smart mobile phones. Search for ‘Donor ECard’ at the IPhone Store or Android Market Place. Visit www.ika.ie for more information.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here