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Waiting on the gift of a new heart for almost three years
Dáithí Mac Gabhann, age four, has been waiting on the gift of a new heart for almost three years and is the face of a campaign urging the conversation of organ donation. This campaign started in Northern Ireland, and has reached across the island of Ireland, the UK and across the world. The passing of any loved one is difficult, painful, among many more emotions, but even in death, we can give the gift of life, and that is why Futsal Focus supports organ donation, and the incredible work and impact that Dáithí’s parents Máirtín Mac Gabhann and Seph Ní Mhealláin have already had, and will continue to have due to their devotion to their son and their commitment to the Donate4Dáithí campaign.
The West Belfast child’s parents set up the Donate4Dáithí campaign, which has attracted thousands over the years and got the public talking. Recently, Jamie Dornan, Martin Compston, otherwise known as Steve Arnott on Line Of Duty, shared Dáithí’s story on his personal Instagram account – the show’s Dot Cottan and Ryan Pilkington followed suit as have JLS from the X-Factor, retired boxer Carl Frampton among many more celebrities.
Dáithí was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, which essentially means he only has half a working heart. Dáithí has had many open heart surgeries in his short life, his first at just four days old. With all other options now exhausted, a heart transplant remains Dáithí’s only hope.
His parents and their families have been leading campaigners for a change in the law here as Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without a soft opt-out system of organ donation. Speaking to Futsal Focus, Máirtín told us about their campaign’s journey:
“Finding out that Dáithí’s only chance of life was a heart transplant left us feeling helpless and devastated at first. After a while, and educationg ourselves about organ donation along with the facts and figures, we decided to launch the Donate4Dáithí campaign in a bid to encourage people and families to consider to join the NHS Organ Donor Register to create hope for children like Dáithí.
“In Dáithí’s case, children wait a lot longer and are more likely to die on the list than adults. Anything that helps normalise the talk around organ donation and that will eventually lead to the increase of organs, can only be positive and will be welcomed wholeheartedly by us. We will continue to spread the positive message of organ donation to encourage people to join the register and to say Yes I Donate and we are thrilled that Futsal Focus has shown us this support. Spreading awareness and talking about organ donation can and does save lives. We want to try and normalise the talk around organ donation in our society, similar to the way organ donation is looked at in countries like Spain.
We can’t help Dáithí individually, but as a society we can change the norms and attitudes to organ donation which will help everyone waiting on the gift of life, which will then indirectly help our wee son, Dáithí.”
Futsal Focus founder Stephen McGettigan:
“I have known Máirtín and Seph for many years, and I have been inspired by what they have achieved so far and how despite everything they and their son never fail to find a moment to smile, laugh and spread their natural positivity and fighting spirit. I am delighted to be able to provide a platform that has a global following that can help to further ignite an interest and discussion into the importance of organ donation.”
Going forward the Donate4Dáithí campaign will be visible on Futsal Focus partners page and with every article we publish, it will finish by highlighting the campaign and organ donation.
To follow the Donate4Dáithí campaign, you can visit their website here: www.donate4daithi.org or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Donate4Daithi you can also donate money to their campaign at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/donate4daithi
To learn more about organ donation or to sign up, you can visit https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ and to sign up: https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/register-your-decision/donate/
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