The mother of a nine-year-old Joshua, from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, who is waiting for a kidney transplant says it is a miracle a donor has been found.

The mother of a nine-year-old Joshua, from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, who is waiting for a kidney transplant says it is a miracle a donor has been found.

That donor is a senior police officer, Graham Dodds who responded to an appeal in a local newspaper. Graham was tested and found to be a match for Joshua.

Joshua Dolan has only one kidney functioning at 17% and must travel to Belfast three times a week for a four-hour dialysis session.

Mary Dolan said the dialysis has left her son feeling very tired.

“He’s been having a hard time these past couple of months. It’s very heart-breaking for a mum to watch,” she said.

Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Inspector Graham Dodds read the family’s appeal for a donor in the ‘Impartial Reporter’ newspaper, and discovered he was a suitable match.

“What stood out for me was Joshua’s story and despite very trying circumstances his happy smile and determination,” he said.

“My relatively small act of giving up an organ that I don’t actually need will have a massive impact for his life and his family when it will have a fairly minor impact on mine,” the Graham added.

“You have three or four hours of surgery and a couple of months recovery period but once that’s done you’re back to normal.”

Outside of his police duties, Graham is an officer in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets and leads the Squadron in Omagh, as well as holding the role of Media Communications Officer for the Scotland and Northern Ireland Region. He is married to Nicola, and has two teenage sons, Ethan and Alexander. His family have been totally supportive of his decision to donate a kidney and have been fully involved in all the elements of the process.

While the testing aspect of the process may put some people off, Graham explains that while it was detailed, it was not that unusual or difficult. “The one day testing at Belfast City Hospital was certainly very detailed and comprehensive. I had numerous blood tests, scans and checks to ensure I was fit to donate. Essentially it was an MOT on me and I was reassured by the lengths to which staff went to make sure I was fit to donate and that my kidney was suitable”.

The donation process has also prompted many questions from family, friends and colleagues on the donation process. Questions have ranged from ‘can you still drink alcohol’ to ‘will you always need medication after you donate’. Graham has been able to answer these questions (‘Yes’ and ‘No’), as well as the others posed due to the excellent briefings provided by the living donor staff at BCH.

Graham is an altruistic donor, having no relationship with his recipient, Joshua. This has led to people asking why he is undertaking the process when he has no links or obligation to do so. The answer, Graham states is easy, “To me, it’s a simple answer in that helping another person is what you should do in all and any circumstances. In this case, I have a spare kidney and am in a position in life which allows me to donate. Its as simple as that”

Post-surgery, Graham plans to relax and recover by catching up on some much delayed reading of the many historical books he has bought but not yet read due to the pressures of his policing role, family life and cadet duties. He also hopes to spend time walking in the Tyrone countryside to build up his strength during recovery.

It is hoped the operation to give Joshua his new kidney will be able to take place in May.

NIKPA wishes Joshua and Graham well in this unique gift which brings them both together.

Graham had previously undergone tests to be a donor for a police colleague who was ill a number of years ago. His co-worker later recovered and no longer required a transplant.

“I always had it in my mind that if something arose where I could help I will try,” said Graham.

“When I saw Joshua’s appeal I just thought ‘that’s perfect for me, it’s a local lad and if I can help I will’.”

Graham said he was honoured and proud to be able to help Joshua

Ms Dolan said her son had always been interested in the police and the family has formed a strong bond with the chief inspector while talking to him online.

“It’s given him a buzz he’s going to get a kidney from a police officer,” she said.

As well as donating a kidney, Graham has agreed to give Joshua his police whistle, a hat and a medallion when they finally get to meet in person after the operation.

“Whenever Joshua and I actually physically meet will be after he has my kidney inside him and that’s when we’ll be able to meet up in hospital and I think that will be fantastic,” said Graham.

“To me as a police officer my whole raison d’être is to help people and to protect life and to look after people.

“I think that is something instilled in me to the core as a police officer of 23 years service, but as a human being, to me it’s a natural thing to want to help someone.”

Graham is “honoured and proud” to be able to help Joshua.

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