Celebrating the friendships and families found during dialysis

By Mary Dennehy

THE wish of a local mother and dialysis patient, who passed away in 2013, to remember those who never got that life-saving transplant has taken root in Tallaght Hospital.

Tallaght mam Deborah Smyth was on dialysis for nearly 12 years and, according to her husband Roderick, over that time she saw lots of people leaving dialysis, many with successful transplants.

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However, sadly, there were people who never got that life-saving transplant and Deborah had an idea, a wish, to create something that would remember all of the people whose lives cross paths with dialysis, and their families.

Roderick told The Echo: “The social work team at Tallaght Hospital stayed in touch with me and my two boys after Deborah passed away and one day I mentioned Deborah’s idea to them.

“The team in Tallaght thought it was a great idea, with some of the staff remembering Deborah talking about it – and so, the Forget Me Never project was started.”

The collaborative project, led by Roderick Smyth and his two boys Ruairí and Adam in conjunction with the National Centre for Arts and Health in Tallaght Hospital, is a large scale artwork of an eight-foot high tree – with each mosaic leaf symbolising a loved one.

Dialysis patients have been making their leaves in recent months, while more than 60 family members attended a workshop before Christmas and created their individual leaves for the remembrance tree.

Roderick said: “Deborah spent 12 years on dialysis, six hours a day, three times a week.

“Over that time the other patients became her friends, her family in a sense, and this tree will remember and celebrate all of those friendships.

“The tree also recognises the support and strength of families. A lot of care is given by family members to dialysis patients in the home, with dialysis not the first step for many families – before dialysis Deborah had a stroke, heart attack and numerous operations, including a quadruple bypass.

“This tree, which will be mounted in Tallaght Hospital, will remember and recognise all of the journeys that patients and families have been on in a positive and connected way.”

Roderick, Ruairí and Adam are holding a charity table quiz this Friday, Janaury 29, in St Mark’s GAA Club, Tallaght, to raise funds for the completion and installation of the project.

Starting at 8pm and costing €10 per table of four, the quiz is open to the entire community, and dialysis patients and their families who would like to support the Forget Me Never Project.

Anybody who would like to engage with the project and create a leaf is encouraged to call Roderick on 085 7362207.

 

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