Life Health & Wellbeing

Thursday 16 August 2018

Irish father-of-three to become 'second organ transplant recipient ever to compete in New York marathon'

David Crosby lost three young siblings to a rare lung disease in childhood

David Crosby will run the New York marathon on November 5. Photo: Everydayhero
David Crosby will run the New York marathon on November 5. Photo: Everydayhero
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

An Irish 41 year-old father-of-three who will compete in the New York marathon this November is believed to be the second organ transplant recipient who will complete the race.

David Crosby from Kingscourt in Cavan lost three young siblings to a rare lung disease in childhood.

In 2015, David was diagnosed with Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a chronic irreversible and ultimately fatal disease characterised by a progressive decline in lung function.

“I was the eldest. My sister Regina was born after me and ten days after she was born, she refused to take her bottle and then passed away at seven months.”

Two years later David’s brother Paul was born, but sadly he too fell ill at ten days old. He died at the age of two after a battle with lung disease.

Next, his sister Anne Marie, who is thankfully well and now lives in Abu Dhabi, was born.

David told Today With Sean O’Rourke this morning: “Ten years after I was born, Ciaran was born. He also refused a bottle ten days after he was born, and our lives were thrown into disarray again."

“He was an amazing boy and he wrote a book about his life called Too Many Angels. He lived until he was 11.”

Ciaran had been diagnosed with Fibrosing Alveolitis, a condition of the lungs.

After the pain of losing three young siblings to lung disease, David himself was then devastated to learn that he had IPF.

“Myself and my wife sat in a coffee shop, looking into the abyss, and we went home to tell my family, and after a good cry and hugs, I said I’m not going to let it take my life.”

David went from someone who was running half marathons and competing in intercounty Gaelic football to a person who needed oxygen 24 hours a day to survive.

“It was constant, 24 hours a day, six litres of oxygen, I was sleeping with it, I needed it the whole time.”

Last year, David was put on a waiting list for a double lung transplant in Dublin’s Mater Hospital. Three months later, he got the call to say the doctors had a donor.

“When you get a gift of life from a donor who I think about every day, there’s a fire in you to give something back.”

“My mother is running the marathon with me. We’re a fighting family.”

Professor David Healy, Consultant Cardiothoracic surgeon, who operated on David and will run the New York marathon with him, said: “As soon as he woke up, the first thing he wanted to know is when he could run. The physios remember that he wanted to know that.”

“With the help of Dr Healy, anything is possible,” David said. “And the marathon is only a small thing compared to a transplant.”

“I woke up on a Saturday, and I was on a lot of medication… and I just wanted to be out of bed, and I started walking the wards. I was constantly walking and I was out of the Mater hospital in ten days.”

“I love New York and as a stubborn man, I said why can’t I do the marathon as well? And 14 people have rowed in behind me and they’re doing it as well.”

David’s wife, Katie, will run the marathon along with his mother, Kathleen, cousins, Denise Carolan, Margaret O’Rourke, Stephen Power, Michael Crosby, Enda Coyle and Katie Sexton, his friend and fitness instructor, Andy O’Brien, and friends David McNally, David Watters and Sean Kieran, as well as Professor Healy.

David’s hydration will constantly be monitored during the marathon. His determination does not just finish with the marathon though, he has his set his sights on his team winning the Meath county final in a few weeks time.

“When Ciaran my brother was around we were in a county final and I knew how much it meant to him and I always promised him that we’d win the final.”

David’s cousin who owns a bar on Wall Street, has promised to give 20pc of the takings on the day of the marathon to David’s cause.

Donations can be made here.

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