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Please don't take your Organs to Heaven as Heaven knows we need them here on Earth!

Our impact numbers

The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund Charity Race was founded in 1990 and has raised €1.8 million to date.

Donated for a new Renal ward at temple Street Children’s Hospital.
Donated to support IKA to establish a Pilot Peer Support program for all Kidney patients in Ireland.
To establish the James Tracy/PKRF/Kidney Beam Exercise program.
To continue our Polycystic Kidney Disease Research in partnership with the Irish Nephrology Society under the guidance of the Irish Research Council.
To continue our STATE MAN Art Therapy programs for Dialysis Patients in Tallaght, Wexford & Waterford Dialysis Units.
To support Sports Programs for Dialysis & Transplant Patients.

Annual Punchestown Kidney Research Fund Charity Race

The Punchestown Kidney Research Fund uses the Charity Race as a major Organ Donor Awareness Event in Ireland.  Indeed the simple measure of carrying an Organ Donor Card or having the conversation about Organ Donation and informing one’s next of kin of one’s wish to donate organs can save someone’s life.

The Race

Founded in 1990 by James Nolan, the Punchestown Charity Race is a 1 mile and 7 furlongs flat race that takes place at the Punchestown Championship Racetrack during the Irish National Hunt Racing Festival, attracting 30,000 spectators.

Over the years, it has featured notable riders from the racing world such as Frank Berry, Tommy Carberry, and John Joe O'Neill, as well as prominent figures from the equestrian world like Jessica Harrington and Bertram Allen. Additionally, Jon Kenny from D'unbelievables participated in 1998 and 1999.

It is the concluding race of the festival, with riders required to raise at least €1,500 in sponsorship to enter.

Where it's held

The race, takes place at the Punchestown Championship Racetrack during the Irish National Hunt Racing Festival, attracting 30,000 spectators.

It is officially recognized by the Punchestown Management Committee, who require all jockeys to pass a One Day Competency Assessment to compete as amateurs. Noteworthy past participants include "Bobbyjo," the winner of the Irish National in 1998 and the Aintree Grand National in 1999.

The 2023 winner was Kilcullen GAA Championship Winning footballer Paul Bell, and 2024 marks the 33rd running of the event.

How it Started

James Nolan, who has battled progressive renal failure since birth, spent the first 19 years of his life undergoing extensive medical treatments and was placed on dialysis at the Meath Hospital, Dublin, at the age of 19 in November 1986.

In April 1987, his family explored the possibility of a transplant, leading to the discovery that his sister Catherine was a 100% match. Catherine generously donated one of her kidneys, giving James a new lease on life. After their surgeries, James, fully recovered and inspired to give back, collaborated with The Punchestown Race Course and The Turf Club to establish a charity race. James participated in the first 13 races, notably winning in 2002 at 50/1 odds on Nero’s Dancer.

To date, the event has raised €1.8 million for kidney-related projects, with the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund investing these funds in initiatives aimed at enhancing the lives of dialysis patients, extending the lifespan of transplanted kidneys, and investigating the causes of renal failure.

James Nolan, now 57, has made a significant impact through his efforts in both his personal battle with kidney disease and his philanthropic contributions to kidney research.

Have the Conversation -  
say YES to Organ Donation!