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Thursday 14 November 2019

'We got our little man back' - Boy (4) reaches 'miracle milestone' as he starts school after heart transplant

Nikita and Peter with their two sons
Nikita and Peter with their two sons
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A four-year-old boy has reached a miracle milestone as he started school last week, just months after receiving a heart transplant.

Peter McKay (4) from Thurles, Co Tipperary was diagnosed with heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy at just six-months-old.

Peter (4) received a heart transplant
Peter (4) received a heart transplant

"When Peter was born we were told that he had a hole in his heart. When he was six-months-old he was diagnosed with a heart problem. He was doing fine and was on medication but when he turned two he took a turn for the worst," Mum Nikita told

"It was horrible. We were watching him go into cardiac arrest and there was nothing we could do to help him. Doctors in Crumlin weren't sure there was anything that could be done to save him."

Nikita and dad Peter McKay were told that their son’s only chance of survival was to undergo a heart transplant in Freeman Hospital in England.

"We flew over to England and machines were the only thing that was keeping him alive. He had suffered from a stroke too and he had a bleed in his brain."

Peter (4)
Peter (4)

Nikita said that in December 2016, she got a call to say that they had a heart for Peter.

"He underwent the transplant but at first his body rejected the heart and he went into cardiac arrest again. Doctors sent us out of the room and we were waiting outside for ten minutes not knowing whether our baby was alive or dead."

Peter was rushed into surgery where he suffered from cardiac arrest four times.

After the surgery, Nikita said that the four-year-old was like a new child.

"He bounced straight back. He was like a normal child."

The miracle child was all smiles as he started school last week.

"Peter started school last week and he absolutely loves it. Because he was so ill we thought about keeping him at home and home-schooling him but that wouldn't have been fair on Peter. We want him to be a normal four-year-old boy living his life.

"It's hard on any parent, but after we almost lost Peter so many times we were worried about his immune system and what he might pick up from other kids. But he's having a brilliant time and can't wait to go back and see all his friends and his teacher."

Nikita said that everyone should be an organ donor and that her own experience was eye-opening.

"Beforehand, I probably wouldn't have donated my organs. But if you're willing to take them, you should be willing to give them.

"We are so thankful to the family that donated a heart to Peter. They gave us our little man back."

Nikita and dad Peter are now fundraising to help other parents who are in the same situation.

You can donate to the fund here

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