Northern Ireland news

Co Down siblings take on 100-mile challenge for organ donation awareness in memory of brother

Paudraig Sweeney died just a week after his 21st birthday

TWO siblings from Co Down are taking on a 100 mile challenge for organ donation awareness in memory of their brother whose organs gave the chance of life to six people.

Breandan (30) and Grainne (27) Sweeney from Portaferry are walking, running and cycling their way through the month of June in a bid to raise valuable funds for the charity, 'Live Life Give Life'.

It is a cause close to their hearts after they lost their brother Paudraig in a road crash between Portaferry and Kircubbin almost 13 years ago.

Mr Sweeney died just a week after his 21st birthday, but six people received his organs after his tragic death, including a six-month-old baby boy.

His siblings began their challenge on Monday and have already raised more than £2,000.

Their mother Mary said they are supporting the charity as it helps fund awareness-building and educational initiatives to get people talking about organ donation.

"They plan to walk, run, cycle for the month of June, alternating what they do," she said.

"It's to raise money for the charity, Live Life, Give Life, and it's also in memory of our son Paudraig who died almost 13 years ago.

"He was travelling to work, he was a joiner, and for some reason he swerved on the road, we don't know why and hit a wall head on.

"The doctors tried their best, but they told us there was nothing they could do any more. My hubby and I are organ donors, but we didn't know when this happened that Paudraig was a donor too.

"We knew we had to donate his organs. He died a week after his 21st birthday."

Mrs Sweeney said they are "so proud" that Paudraig's organs saved many lives.

"His heart went to a man in England who had two sons and did a half marathon six, seven years ago," she said.

"One of his lungs went to a 44-year-old man in England and part of his liver to a six-month-old boy and the rest to a 34-year-old man.

"His kidney and pancreas went to a 50-year-old man in Edinburgh and other kidney to a a 19-year-old girl.

"This is the main reason Breandan and Grainne are doing this challenge, to help raise money and awareness of organ donation.

"They have already raised more than £2,000 and I hope they can raise much more.

"We hope this will not only raise awareness but also help fund a much needed cause."

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