The mother of a nine-year-old boy 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, who discovered he was a suitable match after reading an appeal in a newspaper.
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) Ch Insp 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.
The officer had done tests to be a donor for a police colleague who was ill a number of years ago, but his co-worker recovered and did not need a transplant.
“I always had it in my mind that if something arose where I could help I will try,” said Mr Dodds.
“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’.”
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, Mr Dodds 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 the senior police officer.
“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.”
He said he was “honoured and proud” to be able to help Joshua.
“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 policeman 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.”
It is hoped the operation to give Joshua his new kidney will be able to take place in April.