2020 VISION Darren Cawley, his wife Aoife and their sons Iarlaith and Caolan say hello to Aoife’s parents Mary and Bernie Mitchell, and Aoife’s sister Niamh, on Mother’s Day in Rosbeg, Westport earlier this year. Due to ongoing Covid-19 concerns, Darren is not sure if they will be able to spend Christmas with his or Aoife's parents. Pic: Conor McKeown
Anton McNulty and Áine Ryan
A TRANSPLANT recipient has urged the public to respect the Covid-19 guidelines this Christmas in order to ensure vulnerable people like him have a safe Christmas.
This time last year, motivational speaker Darren Cawley was speaking along with former Dublin manager, Jim Gavin to a pharmaceutical company in the Aviva Stadium. The kidney transplant recipient made his living giving motivational talks but since March he has not stood in a room with people out of the fear of contracting Covid-19.
“I love being around people but that has had to stop which has been very difficult,” the Westport native told The Mayo News.
“We normally spent Christmas with my family or my wife’s family but at the moment we are even debating whether we will have dinner with them or not. It has gone to that extreme which is sad, you are breaking up traditions with Covid.
“We thought the numbers would go down and they did but there are too many not adhering to the protocol and it is spoiling the Christmas we are used to and that we thought we would get. But it has gone out the window really.”
As a kidney transplant recipient, Darren has been informed that if he contracts the virus there is a good chance he will lose the transplant due to his weak immune system. As a result he has to avoid unnecessary contact with people outside his family bubble.
“I got the gift of life and I am very careful and grateful. The gift of life is the kidney transport and to be frivolous with it would be a huge disservice to the family of the donor. I think most people with a kidney transplant feel that way,” he said, adding that people think of travelling home should think again.
“My heart goes out to them but they should take one for the team and stay where they are. They will have to hold out for the greater good and wait until safer times,” he said.
Meanwhile, Westport’s Fr Charlie McDonnell who told The Mayo News yesterday that ‘we all have people who for varying reasons cannot come home this year but we are together in spirit’.
He said it is the job of everyone to ‘stay safe and support each other’ during these Christmas days.
“The coronavirus numbers have been low in this area which makes it possible for us all to stay safe. We now need to make sure we get to the New Year by respecting the restrictions and each other,” Fr McDonnell said.
He said that we as a people have ‘proven our resilience’ and he believes we will ‘continue acting as a community by doing our best for each other’. He added that ‘we don’t know what the New Year will bring, so this is the time to stay strong and resolute’, as the hope of spring brings new light.