Dubliner runs 1,000km through Ireland to raise organ donor awareness

Don Hannon, who donated part of liver to his sister, is first to complete The Ireland Way

A 45-year-old Dublin man, who donated half his liver to his sister less than two years ago, completed a 1,000 kilometre 15-day run down through the middle of Ireland on Sunday evening.

Don Hannon, from Sandyford, began his journey at the Giant's Causeway in Co Antrim on March 31st, the first day of Organ Donor Awareness Week 2018.

He completed it at Castletownbere in Co Cork where he received a Garda escort on the final leg of his run.

He undertook the run through woodland, farmland, bog land and seven mountain ranges along The Ireland Way to raise organ donor awareness. He is belived to be the first man to run the full distance of The Ireland Way.


In July 2016 he donated part of his liver to his sister Therese in operations in the UK. She had previously undergone a liver transplant.

It was Therese who suggested that Mr Hannon, an avid trail and long-distance runner, take up the challenge of running The Ireland Way once he had recovered, to raise awareness of organ donation and transplantation.

Mr Hannon said “it was an epic journey filled with fear and excitement in equal amounts. I’m very relieved to have made it to the finish”.

Almost 3,500 people in Ireland have had successful transplants. However at the end of 2017, there were 524 people on waiting lists for heart, lung, liver, kidney and pancreas transplants.

Last year also, thanks to the generosity of the families of 99 deceased organ donors in Ireland together with 51 living kidney donors, a total of 327 organs were transplanted into 321 patients including 23 children.

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association at 01 6205306 or Free Text the word DONOR to 50050.

The website address is www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times