OFFICIAL OPENING: Kerry Branch of the Irish Kidney Association officers Theresa Looney (Secretary), Connie Brosnan (Chairman) and Debbie Templeton (Treasurer) in Killarney Kidney House, the new holiday and respite centre opened by the Irish Kidney Association. Picture: Eamonn Keogh
By Sean Moriarty
A new holiday house for kidney transplant patients and those on dialysis will officially open today (Friday) in Killarney.
The new facility, on the grounds of Killarney Holiday Village on the Muckross Road, will allow patients enjoy a holiday while undergoing treatment or those recovering from a transplant operation.
The house will be dedicated to the memory of the late Tom Fleming, the former Chairman of the Kerry branch of the Irish Kidney Association. He died in 2014 after receiving four kidney transplants in his lifetime.
The house has been in operation since June but today’s event will mark the official opening of the facility and the handing over of a cheque from fundraising efforts from the Ring of Kerry Charity Cycle this year.
So far the local branch of the IKA have raised over €180,000 for the facility, mainly through the annual Ring of Kerry Cycle, but fundraising remains on-going to pay for the upkeep of the house and to purchase additional equipment.
Back in 2016 the Kerry branch received €176,000 from the cycle and additional events like their annual Ring of Kerry Honda 50 Run helped buy the house. This year’s donation will go towards the upkeep and maintenance of the holiday home.
The house is furnished to a high standard, most of the fixtures and furnishings were donated by local businesses and local trades people carried out the work.
Currently there are 52 people on dialysis in Kerry and they must attend clinics, three days a week in University Hospital Kerry.
The facility is suitable for patients who can self-treat and one of the bedrooms in the house is converted into a home dialysis unit.
“This is a tangible asset,” Theresa Looney, Local Branch Secretary and Patient Support Officer told the Killarney Advertiser. “People who donated or supported our events can see exactly where their money is being spent.”
The IKA is holding its annual board meeting in the Killarney Oaks Hotel today. It is hoped that they will be impressed enough by the high-class facilities.
The Killarney facility is the second one in the county, an existing holiday house in Tralee has been in operation since 2006.
“The one in Tralee is fabulous too,” added Theresa. “There are apartments in Tramore but they would not be as well-kitted out as here. This is an example of what can be done and we hope that it would encourage the board to do more up and down the country.”
Patients can liaise with the IKA’s head office in Dublin and they will allocate a week’s holiday at the house while at the same time booking in their thrice-weekly treatments at University Hospital Kerry (UHK) in Tralee.
The level of service, all provided by volunteers, would put the facility on par with a four-star hotel.
“One of the jarveys here in town is a patient and his daughter comes and takes the visitors on jaunting car rides around the lakes,” added Theresa. “It is a great location for a holiday, the Oaks Hotel is right next door and staff will drop meals over if people are not up for moving.”
Earlier today members of the Kerry branch brought IKA board members on a factory tour to Astellas Pharma in Killorglin as the medication used for preventing organ rejection after a heart, kidney, or liver transplant is manufactured there.