Northern Ireland news

Mural of toddler Dáithí Mac Gabhann unveiled in west Belfast for Organ Donation Week

A new mural on the Falls Road featuring local heart hero Daithi Mac Gabhann ahead of Organ Donation Week. Picture by Picture Mal McCann.

A mural of toddler Dáithí Mac Gabhann has been unveiled in west Belfast in a bid to encourage people to sign the organ donation register.

The artwork featuring the three-year-old boy, who requires life-saving heart transplant surgery, was organised by his family to coincide with Organ Donation Week, which begins on Monday.

His father Maírtín Mac Gabhann last night said they hope the mural on the Falls Road would "inspire more people to sign up to be a donor".

Dáithí was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome and was given just a 10 per cent chance of survival at four days old.

He has already undergone several major surgeries and is understood to be one of only two children in the north awaiting a new heart.

Just this week he had to spend a night in hospital as his "reserve was wiped out", his father said.

The young boxing fanatic has been the public face of a high-profile campaign to raise awareness around organ donation for more than two years.

His parents Máirtín and Seph have been campaigning to "give Dáithí the best chance of life" and are encouraging people to take part in a 'Coffeesation Morning' during Organ Donation Week.

"We thought the mural would be a good visual way of encouraging people to sign the register," said Mr Mac Gabhann.

"We hope it will inspire more people to sign up to be a donor.

"Also with Organ Donation Week being virtual this year, we came up with the idea of a 'Coffeesation Morning', when we hope households will get together and tell each other their wishes for organ donation.

"It's a chance for people to grab a coffee and have that conversation.

"Figures show that 140 families said no to organ donation in the UK and another 100 families over-ruled their loved one's request.

"Too many families say no to organ donation because they are unaware of their loved one's decision.

"But just one organ donor has the chance to save nine lives. We believe it is so important that people have that conversation with their family.

"Our idea is simple - get as many people in households to take about organ donation."

For further information see Donate4Dáithí on Facebook and Twitter.

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