Double lung transplant CF sufferer William now feeling ‘better than ever’

Eamonn Wynne

Eamonn Wynne

A Bansha man who underwent a life-saving operation to replace both of his lungs says that he now feels better than he ever did.

Cystic Fibrosis sufferer William Bresnan from Rathdermot is counting his blessings after the seven-hour operation at the Freeman hospital in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the north east of England was a success.

26 year-old William spent six weeks in the hospital before returning home last Friday. “It was a long haul but it was worth it”, he said.

William, the son of Margaret and Billy Bresnan, realises his good fortune. He was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a condition that has already claimed the lives of his two brothers. 16 year-old Alan died in 2000 while 7 year-old Mark passed away in 1987.

His sister, 21 year-old Louise, isn’t a sufferer.

“I’m very lucky because five of my friends, who were also on the waiting list for a lung transplant, have died in the past year”, he said.

William, who was on a waiting list for two and-a-half years, had two false starts before the operation was performed at the Newcastle hospital. He twice made the trip to England but his lungs weren’t considered healthy enough and the operation was postponed, before it was a case of third time lucky when he was given the go-ahead on January 25.

In his own words, he has been “in and out of hospital” all his life and his condition noticeably worsened in the past four years. Before the operation he was constantly breathless and had to take oxygen just to walk around.

He needed to use a nebuliser for a couple of hours each day and had to wear an oxygen mask when he went to bed to assist his breathing. He also had physiotherapy sessions for a few hours each day to give him some quality of life.

William was involved in his father’s business, Bresnan Aluminium until ill health forced him to give up work a few years ago.

Mindful of the heavy toll that the condition has taken on his family, his father Billy is again organising a motorbike run to raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research/Bill for Life. The run will travel from Tipperary town to Bundoran in Donegal on Saturday, April 16 and already 80 motorcyclists have signed up for the charity trip.

Billy’s co-organisers are his partner, Mary Behan; John Redfern and Garda Bill Lynch, both from Tipp town, and Billy Breen from Tipperary.

Last year’s charity run, which covered a route from Tipperary to Killybegs, raised the grand total of €10,000, most of which went to Cystic Fibrosis research, with a small donation made to the local branch of the Red Cross, whose members accompanied the bike run.

William took part in that run but he will have to stay at home this year because his immune system is low and it’s important he avoids crowds.

He was in the Mater Hospital in Dublin on Tuesday for a check-up, a procedure that he’ll need to repeat every week for the next six months. Once his condition improves the frequency of the check-ups will be reduced to once every three months.

William’s ordeal has also brought home to him the importance of people agreeing to donate their organs in the event of their death.

“It’s a problem in Ireland that enough people don’t carry organ donor cards”, he says.