Dáithí’s Day: Young organ donation campaigner awarded Freedom of the City of Belfast

Dáithí’s Day: Young organ donation campaigner awarded Freedom of the City of Belfast

YOUNG campaigner Dáithí Mac Gabhann has been awarded the Freedom of the City of Belfast.

The inspiring six-year-old was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, meaning only one side of his heart worked.

After several operations to correct the issue, it was felt his condition was too severe for further surgery and in January 2018 his parents were told that a transplant was Dáithí's only option.

Dáithí has been on the waiting list for a heart transplant ever since.

And while waiting he and his family, parents Máirtín and Seph and baby brother Cairbre have campaigned tirelessly to change the laws around organ donation in Northern Ireland.

Now, more than five years later, their goal has been reached as the legislation known as Dáithí’s Law has finally come into effect.

As of June 1 all adults in the North are deemed organ donors unless they have opted out of the scheme or are in an excluded group.

Honouring the young boy’s ongoing commitment to the campaign, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Tina Black conferred the Freedom of The City on him in a special ceremony held on Saturday, June 3.

“Dáithí is an exceptional and special little boy who has inspired and given hope to other young people waiting for a donor,” she said.

“Being so brave, at such a young age, in undergoing several open-heart surgeries in recent years, it is fantastic that he is now being recognised for his tireless campaigning in raising awareness around organ donation, and his success at bringing about a change in legislation,” she added.

“Conferring the Freedom of the City on Dáithí showcases the immense pride we as a city have for him and I am both humbled and delighted to be here today to congratulate and celebrate with courageous Dáithí and his family.”

During Dáithí’s freedom ceremony a circus top transformed the outside lawn at Belfast City Hall, while acrobatic characters and children’s entertainers were on hand to welcome guests.

Following the event, Dáithí’s father Máirtín said: “Today is Dáithí’s day - it is testament to his remarkable character and tremendous spirit.

“We are so delighted to have the support of this amazing city on this historic day. We are forever grateful.”