Irish organ donor card

If it wasn't for an organ donation from an American a 28-year old Irish man believes he would have died of heart failure.

Alan Judge, an outdoor sports fanatic, was diagnosed with a heart condition eight years ago that could have led to his death.

Just after diagnosis Judge was given a donated human aortic valve that saved his life from a donor in the U.S.

"That valve, called an Dacron Tube aorta, had to be sourced from America to save my life as there were not enough suitable donors in Ireland at the time," said Alan, a native of Allan, Co Kildare.

Judge, who was born prematurely causing all sorts of problems, did a lot of research before undergoing the life-saving surgery in 2002 in Dublin.

An article that appeared in the Herald a few weeks ago about organ donation prompted Judge to tell his story.

The article stated that "some 261 life-changing organ transplants took place in Irish hospitals last year, but the demand for organs still greatly outnumbers suitable donors available."

It went on to say "more than 600 people are on the various organ transplant waiting lists today."

Judge, president of the student union body at a college in Co. Galway, is now asking students throughout the country to consider organ donation. He is also hoping that the Union of Students in Ireland will adopt organ donation as it's national charity. He intends to bring up the matter at this coming weekends national council in Co. Waterford.

"I want to raise the awareness of organ donation. It's a vitally important issue for many people," he said.

In an attempt to bring the issue to light, Judge has vowed to visit every campus to tell students if it hadn't been for a U.S. donor he wouldn't be alive today.

"We won't be asking people to give us your money, only your organs," he joked.