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Monday 20 January 2020

Historic heart-transplant patient becomes a father

Lynne Kelleher

THE man who was the first child to receive a heart transplant in Ireland has told how he has his donor to thank for a second life, after becoming a father.

Patrick Barry, from Tallaght, Dublin, was just 11 when heart surgeon Maurice Neligan carried out the ground-breaking procedure at the Mater Hospital in 1993.

Now, he says he has his donor to thank for a second life, with the arrival of his baby daughter Lucy before Christmas.

The engineer -- who appears on TV3's series 'Gift of Life' on Thursday at 9pm -- had just weeks to live in 1993 after his doctors discovered his heart was twice the normal size.

But when a match was found in December 1993, his dream of being able to watch Ireland playing soccer at the World Cup finals came true.

The 27-year-old, who is engaged, said he was thrilled at becoming a father.

He said: "She's nine weeks old and she's great. The way I look at it is if there was no donor, I wouldn't be here and Lucy wouldn't be here.

"I couldn't be more thankful to the surgeons and the team at the Mater and the donor who gave me the heart.

"It's the worst time for anyone to be asked that question. One of their loved ones is after dying. You probably don't want to hear about donating the organs, but it can just make such a change. Generation upon generation would be wiped out if it wasn't for donors."

He said he was worried about his baby's heart, but tests had put his mind at ease.

His fiancee, Amanda Carr, said they were grateful to the family of the donor for saving Patrick's life and allowing them to have their own family.

She said: "It is life changing and I don't think people realise how important it is to donate their heart."

Irish Independent

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