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Little Dáithí’s story touches readers’ hearts

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Dáithí Mac Gabhann with mum Seph and dad Máirtín MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Dáithí Mac Gabhann with mum Seph and dad Máirtín
By Brónach Ní Thuama

THE parents of 21-month-old Ballymurphy boy Dáithí Mac Gabhann say they are ‘completely overwhelmed’ with the number of people who have become organ donors since they went public with Dáithí’s story.

Three weeks ago Dáithí’s parents spoke exclusively to the Andersonstown News about their hopes that a new heart could be found for their beautiful baby boy.

Brave Dáithí was born with a condition called Hypoplastic heart syndrome. At only four-days-old Dáithí travelled to London where he underwent open heart surgery. Six days after that he underwent his second open heart operation.

Little Dáithí has undergone many procedures and surgeries since then, with his parents being told that a heart transplant is now the only option. Speaking to the Andersonstown News three weeks ago Dáithí’s dad Máirtín Mac Gabhann said: “We were told that Dáithí had a leak in his heart and that it was so significant that they couldn’t try to fix it, they wanted to focus on putting their energy into a heart transplant for him now instead.

“For Dáithí all other medical options have now been exhausted and a donated organ is his only hope. It takes two minutes become a donor – Dáithí has signed up!

“Dáithí’s potential donated heart needs to be from a baby or a child between one and five, we know that this is a very taboo subject and something that isn’t easy to talk about.”

Since then both Máirtín and Dáithí’s mum Seph have been “completely blown away with friends and family signing up to become organ donors”.
Máirtín joked: ‘Dáithí is everywhere, we are going to need an agent and a management team for him soon.

“But in all seriousness, we cannot thank people enough for becoming organ donors, we especially want to thank parents who have signed their children up to the register. We know this isn’t an easy thing to do and from the bottom of our hearts we cannot thank you enough.

“One of our friends told us that his seven-year-old daughter asked to become a donor. That really touched us and made us think that maybe organ donation isn’t such a taboo subject.”

Last Monday evening Facebook was awash with people changing their profile pics to “Is Deontóir, mé, Deonú Orgán” (I am a donor, Organ Donation) in support of Dáithí and his family.

Máirtín said: “This is amazing, it made us so emotional and we can’t sing the praises of the Andersonstown News enough, you brought this story out into the limelight and then it kind of ran away with itself.

“All our friends and family have become donors, people we went to school with have signed up, people we don’t even know have become donors and so have all our friends in the Irish language community.

“Our wee man is changing the world as far as we are concerned. I went on to social media on Monday night and was completely blown away, there were literally hundreds of people whose profile pictures said ‘Is Deontóir mé, Deonú Orgán.’

Máirtín added: “The days can be long and lonely when your child is going through something like this, but when strangers contact you with messages of support and hundreds of people sign up to the organ donor register it makes you think that you are doing something right.

“We are going through so many emotions at the moment – we are proud, excited and thankful but mostly we are very hopeful for the future.”
To register to become an organ donor visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-to-donate/register-your-details/

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