RTE Late Late Show viewers were blown away after hearing the story of two best friends involved in a life-saving kidney donation programme.
Best friends Sheila Hanevy and Aine Cornally, who are originally from Westmeath, went on the Late Late Show tonight to share their story and to highlight Organ Donor Awareness Week, which starts tomorrow.
Speaking on the show, Ryan Tubridy said: “This is the most rock-solid friendship I’ve ever seen.”
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Speaking on the show, Sheila explained how she and Aine grew up together in Westmeath, and even shared a flat in Dublin when they came to work there where they eventually settled.
Sheila had received a kidney transplant as a teenager and this kidney failed 15 years later, leaving her on dialysis for the next 19 years.
While Aine and her husband Brian Wickham were more than willing to donate their kidneys, they weren’t suitable candidates.
However, Brian later saw a programme about a paired exchange kidney swap: a willing donor and patient are entered into a programme to do a kidney swap in a chain of other people in the same situation.
Sheila became the first Irish patients to go into that programme in 2011.
In March 2019 Aine donated a kidney to a stranger so that Sheila could receive a kidney in return, saving her life.
Speaking on The Late Late Show about helping to give her best friend a new lease of life, Aine said: “The real benefit is to see Sheila do the stuff that we take for granted like going on a holiday.”
Meanwhile, Sheila told anyone waiting for a donation to never give up.
She said: “To anyone on dialysis, be patient because there’s always hope.”
Viewers took to social media to praise Aine and Sheila for their bravery and incredible bond.
One person said: “An incredible story of friendship, love and strength tonight from Aine and Sheila on the #latelateshow highlighting the importance of organ donation.”
A second person said: “As someone desperately waiting for a #kidney for the last 2.5 years Sheila’s story on@RTELateLateShow gives me hope, wishing Sheila many years with her kidney. I’m looking forward to a new lease of life whenever I get the call.”
A third person said: “I’m bawling watching these two best friends. What a very special friendship, fair play to them both.”
A fourth person said: “Fair play to that woman giving her friend a kidney.”
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