BELFAST City Hall was lit up pink on Tuesday evening for Organ Donation Week. 

In 2023, the North will see new legislation coming into effect which will introduce a soft opt-out system that will ensure people are automatically organ donors unless they choose to state otherwise. 

Known officially as ‘Dáithí’s Law’, it was introduced following the Donate4Dáithí campaign which was set up by the parents of Ballymurphy born Dáithí Mac Gabhann, who was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Dáithí has been on the waiting list for a new heart for over four years. 

 

Speaking with the Andersonstown News, Dáithí's dad Máirtín spoke about the passing of Dáithí’s Law in February and the importance of Organ Donation Week this year. 

“We had the massive victory with Dáithí’s Law passing in February, if anything the way we’re looking at this week ahead is to celebrate and raise awareness of our achievements but not to get complacent or take our eye off the ball. Dáithí’s Law still hasn’t come into effect and even when it does come into effect it’s probably going to take a few years to see the benefit. Dáithí and the likes of Dáithí, they need their gift now.

 “The organ donor register is still going to be there when Daithí’s Law comes into effect, so we still need people talking about organ donation and joining the organ donation register and more importantly sharing their wishes and sharing their organ donation decision with their families because ultimately, it’s family who make that final call regardless if you have joined or not.

“So, it’s very important if you do join the organ donor register and whatever your organ donation decision might be, it might be to opt out, but it’s very important to let your loved ones know.

“There’s something powerful that people can do on social media and its over their morning coffee or tea to have a wee chat with their loved ones, to share that decision with them. We’re asking that they pop a wee selfie with their cup of tea to let the world know that they have shared their organ donation decision with their loved ones.”

Popular local figures including actor James Nesbitt, Lord Mayor of Belfast Tina Black, and politicians such as Sinn Féin First Minister-designate Michelle O’Neill, Minister of Health Robin Swann, Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile and Paula Bradshaw MLA have taken to social media to show their support for the Donate4Dáithí campaign this Organ Donation Week.

“We have a big night planned with the Belfast Giants on Saturday who have partnered up with us, the Donate4Dáithi campaign, to have a massive awareness drive. Through us, they have invited over 100 different people, families with an organ donation story – be it a recipient, a donor family, maybe families who got the call but their loved one didn’t make it and different campaigners,” said Máirtín.

“There will be over 100 people sitting together at the Belfast Giants game wearing pink thanks to the Giants and there’s going to be messages of organ donation throughout the night. They’re also promoting blood donations and stem cell donations as well. They’re a great organisation and they have been very supportive of us.

“When people ask me what can they do, I ask people to use their platform however big or small they might think that is. What can give Dáithí hope is words and words can save his life, that’s all we’re really asking this week. Organ Donation Week and Day is every day for us. What this Organ Donation Week does is it creates an opportunity for those who don’t have to think about organ donation every day to consider joining the register and having that all important conversation.”