LIFE SAVER Willie and Kathleen Feeley are pictured with a Transplant Games medal won by an organ donor recipient who was able to have a lung transplant after their son Alan donated his organs.
AN impulse decision by a prominent Claremorris sportsman to become an organ donor helped save the lives of five people. Alan Feeley tragically died of a brain haemorrhage in 2013 when he was aged just 28.
His mother Kathleen told The Mayo News that Alan and his brothers discussed organ donation in the family home one Sunday evening after playing a match in cold and wet conditions. There and then, Alan decided to become an organ donor, and his decision ultimately saved five lives.
And recently a letter which arrived to the Feeley home in Mayfield, Claremorris, revealed one of the recipients has gone on to win three bronze medals at the Transplant Games.
It turned out to be an emotional occasion for Willie Feeley and his wife Kathleen when she opened the envelope. The letter was from an unidentified athlete who won three bronze medals at the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games in Helsinki, Finland. The athlete was the recipient of Alan’s lungs. It also contained one of the bronze medals that the athlete won at the games and the medal now is proudly on display in the Feeley household. The recipient expressed his thanks to the family and to the late Alan for the chance of a new life. The athlete pointed out that he was now fit and healthy, and stated this was only a pipedream a few short years ago.
He concluded the letter by stating: “The medals are only symbols of a much bigger prize and they don’t even come close to that precious gift that I received on November 13, 2013.”
Alan’s death shocked the Claremorris community in 2013. His interests were diverse and varied; he had an insatiable desire for travel and travelled to some weird and wonderful places all over the globe.
A sportsman par excellence, he excelled at numerous sports including mountain climbing, (which included climbing Kilimanjaro) scuba diving, skiing, rugby, bungee jumping, surfing, and of course GAA.
He had the unique distinction of captaining every team that he ever played with in Claremorris GAA Club. He also played minor and U-21 football with Mayo.
A brilliant student, he excelled in his old alma mater, St Colman’s College, Claremorris, and afterwards in the University of Limerick, where he obtained a first class honours degree.
A fantastic educator, Alan loved imparting knowledge on the students of Scoil na Trionoide Naofa, formerly known as St Joseph’s, Doon where he was revered and loved by the students and teachers alike. Following his untimely death, six of his organs were donated, helping to save five lives. A huge Sports Extravaganza was held in Alan’s honour in UL to raise awareness of organ donation and promote physical activity. His short life truly had a lasting and meaningful effect on so many people.