Gift of Life That Everyone Can Sign Up For – Dermot Fenton Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Lung & Heart Transplant

Gift of Life That Everyone Can Sign Up For - Dermot Fenton Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Lung & Heart Transplant

As Christmas approaches everyone is thinking about giving and receiving gifts with friends, colleagues and loved ones.  One Cork man who can say he gave and received the ultimate gift is celebrating a landmark 10th anniversary this week.  Today Dermot Fenton celebrated in his local pub, The Mardyke in Cork City, the fact that 10 years ago he received a lifesaving Heart & Lung Transplant. At just 24 Dermot was suffering chronically from the symptoms brought on by Cystic Fibrosis.  Before this life saving operation he was not able to walk unaided, for about two years before the operation he could not breathe without an oxygen mask, and was given just months to live.  Now 10 years on, he has started his own thriving business, “Ders Luxury Boarding Kennels” in Glenville; plays golf 3 times a week with a respectable handicap of 18 and enjoys the odd pint or two in his local pub. 

This is all thanks to the selfless act by one individual and his family, who donated Dermot’s lifesaving new heart and lungs to him.    Ironically Dermot’s heart was perfectly healthy but had to be replaced in the process so his old heart went on to save another life as Dermot was able to donate it to Janet Netherton, a 48 year old housewife who is still alive thanks to Dermot.

Dermot says “My heart was perfectly healthy but had to be replaced as well, which meant I could donate my old heart.  Both operations took place at Harefield Hospital, Middlesex, a relatively small hospital, so I bumped into the lady who received my heart, when we were both recuperating in the gym.  We still keep in contact; she is better than me at this and sends me birthday cards every year.  It’s great that I was able to receive such a unique gift, but by doing so was able to help save someone else’s’ life.”

As well as the heart and lung transplant, due to side effects of the anti-rejection drugs Dermot had to receive a kidney transplant just three years ago.  “Again I was very lucky and only had to wait 5 or 6 weeks for a kidney, but some people are waiting years and have to go through regular dialyses process which puts their lives on hold.”  Dermot attends the Transplant team at the Mater Hospital regularly and the Adult CF centre at Cork University Hospital. Both centres are very happy with his progress; and in the past 10 years he has only had to spend just two weeks in hospital.

Dermot who lives in Glenville, near Watergrasshill in Cork is a symbol of hope for all those people who are on waiting lists for organ donation and an example to people who are faced with the difficult decision of whether to donate a loved one’s organs at time of death.  “All my friends and family carry donor cards now and I would ask everyone reading this to consider doing the same – it really could be the difference between life and death for someone like me.    Some people may not be aware that even if you sign a donor card, your family have the final say on whether your organs are donated, that is why if you decide that you would like to donate your organs at time of death it is important that you discuss this with your family.”

Dr Barry Plant, Consultant Respiratory Physician at Cork University Hospital and Director of the Adult CF Centre at CUH stated “Dermot is an inspiration to all our CF patients currently awaiting lung transplantation and highlights the reason for all of us to carry organ donor cards.” 

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