Northern Ireland news

West Belfast three-year-old Dáithí Mac Gabhann wins 'Hero Heart' award in London

Dáithí Mac Gabhann was presented with a Mark Lynn Young Heart Hero award, which "recognises a young person who has done something amazing"
Marie Louise McConville

A west Belfast child who is awaiting a heart transplant after already enduring two open heart surgeries has won a 'Heart Hero' award in London.

Three-year-old Dáithí Mac Gabhann, who was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, has been on the waiting list for a new heart for more than a year.

He was presented with the Mark Lynn Young Heart Hero award by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) at a ceremony at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre on Friday night.

The award comes as Dáithí's parents, Máirtín and Seph, continue to campaign for people to become organ donors in a bid to "give Dáithí the best chance of life".

Their high-profile campaign has already convinced hundreds of people to sign the organ and tissue donor register

A host of celebrities, including Penny Lancaster, Gaby Roslin and Glenn Hoddle, were among those who attended the glitzy awards event on Friday night.

West Belfast three-year-old Dáithí Mac Gabhann pictured at the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards in London

The awards, in their second year, celebrate people of all ages who have shown immense strength in the face of adversity or have made a significant impact in helping those living with heart and circulatory diseases.

Penny Lancaster, who was one of the judges, said it was a real honour to be part of it.

"I am in awe of all of the Heart Hero winners and the nominees - they're an astounding and brave bunch of people."

West Belfast three-year-old Dáithí Mac Gabhann pictured with Penny Lancaster at the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards in London

Following the event, a post on the Donate4Dáithí Facebook page read: "What an honour it was for Dáithí to be presented with The Mark Lynn Young Heart Hero award last night at the Globe in London.

"What a fantastic night in a room full of #HeartHeroes".

The award, shared by three young people on Friday, is named in honour of eight-year-old Ballymena boy Mark Lynn who was born with complex congenital heart disease but raised money and awareness to help children in similar situations.

He was a finalist in last year’s UK-wide Heart Hero Awards but died just days before he was due to attend with his family.

West Belfast three-year-old Dáithí Mac Gabhann pictured with his parents, Máirtín and Seph at the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre in London where he was won the Mark Lynn Young Heart Hero award at the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) Heart Hero Awards

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