Northern Ireland

Dáithí Mac Gabhann: Messages of support flood in for after transplant setback

Daithi Mac Gabhann and his family campaigned for changes to Northern Ireland’s organ donation legislation.
Daithi Mac Gabhann and his family campaigned for changes to Northern Ireland’s organ donation legislation.

MESSAGES of support have flooded in for the young Belfast boy Dáithí Mac Gabhann after it emerged he was temporarily taken off the transplant list.

The six-year-old’s family confirmed on Wednesday that his wait for a new heart has suffered a setback because of “unresolved issues” in his treatment.

In a social media post, they added that he needed another operation and were hopeful he could be back on the transplant list by the end of the summer.

On Thursday, the youngster's father Máirtín told BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra programme that the decision to remove Dáithí from the list was taken as a transplant operation currently would "just be too high risk" currently.

Dáithí has these collaterals growing which are vessels that grow through time, and if Dáithí was to get that big operation now...then he wouldn’t make it," Máirtín explained.

“Therefore his team in Newcastle have taken the decision to suspend Dáithí and hopefully bring him over in in the next few weeks or months to try and get rid of these collateral vessels so they can put him back on the list."

He added that while it was "far from good news" for the family, they still had "hope".

The successful campaign to change the law on organ donation in Northern Ireland, known as Dáithí’s law, means all adults are automatically registered as donors unless they opt out or are in an excluded group.

Dáithí’s heroic efforts also recently saw him awarded the freedom of Belfast.

Among those sharing their encouragement with the family was Angus Smyth, who posted: “Always in our thoughts Dáithí – I was born with a heart condition and due to great medics I was 60-years-old just over a month ago. We never give up.”

Sinn Féin’s vice President Michelle O’Neill said: “Big hugs to you all. You’ve overcame so much with your incredible strength, love and determination, and you will overcome this setback.

“Enjoy your summer holidays, no family deserves it more.”

Belfast Lord Mayor Tina Black, who had celebrated his freedom of the city, commented: “As a family you have broken down barriers, changed laws and helped so many others on the journey.

“You will overcome this hurdle with the same grace, love and determination. You truly are inspirations.”

Armagh GAA also shared pictures of a recent meeting with Dáithí, commenting: “We are so proud of our hero and our bravest friend! We believe in you Dáithí!”

Another woman posted to say her husband was currently getting assessed for a  double lung transplant in Freeman Hospital.

“Praying that all works out for you Dáithá, you are a wee superstar.”

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Family of young boy behind Dáithí's law reveal 'devastating' news he has been suspended from transplant list