LITTLE Dáithí Mac Gabhann has been chosen as carnival Grand Marshal for the annual Féile an Phobail parade.
Taking place on Saturday August 10, Dáithí (2) and his family and their ‘Is Deontóir Mé/Yes I Donate’ campaign are an official partner with the festival and will use this platform to further highlight organ donation.
It was discovered during a routine 20-week scan that Dáithí’s heart had not developed as it should have and it was found that he had hypoplastic heart syndrome. At only four days old Dáithí travelled to London where he underwent open-heart surgery. Six days after that he underwent his second open heart operation. Since the family’s ‘Is Deontóir Mé/Yes I Donate’ campaign began back in July 2018, it has since been reported that there’s been an increase of four per cent in people signing on to the organ donation register.
Dáithí’s father Máirtín told Daily Belfast that learning his little boy is to lead the parade is “absolutely fantastic news for us.” “We’re constantly looking for out of the ordinary and new ways to put organ donation out there to get people talking about organ donation,” he said. “Our family have been attending Feile an Phobail for years now and it’s an honour for us that Dáithí’s campaign is now an official partner of Féile There will be thousands of people walking in the parade and we can’t wait to be leading it with a clear message of ‘Let’s Talk About It’.
“We’re also very grateful to be given such a platform to spread the much-needed awareness around organ donation, and hope that some of the many thousands that attend the day will consider registering themselves and their families as organ donors. Not only are we trying to spread awareness of organ donation, but organ donation in children as well.”
Máirtín continued: “Organ donation with children is less common but the need for new organs does not discriminate against age. We understand why people may not want to think about children and organ donation, but this is our reality and we’ve noticed with sharing Daithí’s personal stories it has encouraged hundreds of families in West Belfast to join the organ donation register.”