Mother has dream Christmas thanks to life-saving transplant

Cork woman who was resorting to cheese grater to relieve itch believed she would die

Lynda O’Mahony, from Mitchelstown, Co Cork before and after her liver transplant.

Lynda O’Mahony, from Mitchelstown, Co Cork before and after her liver transplant.


A mother-of-two who had to take a cheese grater to bed to relieve a non-stop itch caused by her chronic liver disease is celebrating after having a successful liver transplant over Christmas.

Lynda O’Mahony (41) also used balls of tin foil to scrape her skin, which was left torn and bleeding.

From Mitchelstown in Co Cork, Lynda suffered from a condition called primary biliary cirrhosis, a genetic autoimmune disease in which the body turns against its own cells. It left her with an unbearable itch no medication could treat. She was effectively housebound by her condition and was edging closer to death when she got the call about the transplant.

She told Cork’s Red FM that she received the call she was waiting for on December 9th and rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, for the liver transplant. She woke up at 4pm on December 10th after the operation with her dad looking down at her as if she was his new born baby.


“It was just amazing. I felt better instantly. I couldn’t even begin to explain what I went through. What my family went through. The pain and the suffering. I just got sicker and sicker. I was wheelchair-bound at one stage. I had to go into nappies. I became incontinent. I lost my mind. I didn’t know who my family were. I didn’t recognise people. The toxins in my body robbed me of who I was. I had three bouts of liver failure that I was lucky to get through,” she said.

Lynda has issued an appeal to the public to donate blood as she says she could never have survived without regular transfusions.

“As much as I would like to highlight organ donation, a blood transfusion is equally important. Without blood I would not have survived either. My body was so weak. I was bleeding internally. It was horrendous. You can’t even begin to describe what liver failure is.”

Lynda feels too that there should be an opt-out system in the State in terms of organ donation, to replace the current system which requires potential donors to opt in.

“I just feel very special and I want to raise awareness to save other people from organ failure. I got the most wonderful gift of a call that saved my life. I had given up hope. I had gone home to die.”

Extremely weak

Lynda says without the operation she would not have made Christmas as her body was extremely weak. She had been told to write letters to her 18-year-old and 10-year-old to be read after her death.

“I was asked to have my children prepared. How do you prepare a 10-year-old innocent child that Mammy might not make it? I couldn’t do it. I was asked to have letters written and to have everything in order with solicitors. I was slipping in and out of a coma . . . I felt in my heart I wasn’t going to make Christmas. I was in nappies, everything was gone from me. And now I don’t even have a tingle in my skin.

“I was given the most amazing gift of getting my life back on the 10th of December. That was on a Saturday. On the Friday evening after that I was out in Liffey Valley with my brother with a mask on me in my wheelchair doing my Christmas shopping. I was the happiest person you would ever see going around.”