An Adelaide Irish family is praying for a heart transplant to save their three-year-old who has endured five open heart surgeries to alleviate his rare conditions.
David Hope Glass was transferred to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital in May, where he is reliant on a pacemaker, mechanical valve and heart failure treatment drug Milrinone to keep his tiny heart beating.
With just one quarter of David’s heart properly functioning, his parents remain hopeful for a “miracle”, with his Irish father Liam Glass saying the family had placed their trust in God since finding out about David’s condition when his mother Cindy Glass was 20 weeks pregnant.
“We want to show what faith and hope can do, and hopefully one day David can tell people,” he said.
David’s list of medical conditions is long and complex, from Atrioventricular and Ventricular Septal Defects which have left holes in the walls separating the chambers of his heart, to Pulmonary Stenosis, characterised by an obstruction of the flow of blood from the right heart ventricle to the lungs.
An appeal in his name has raised more than $8,000 through Go Fund Me, leaving his parents overwhelmed by the kindness of friends and strangers.
Melbourne’s Irish Australian Support and Research Bureau has also helped the family while they have been in Melbourne.
The money is intended to relieve pressure on the family, with both parents left unable to work as they care for their first-born.
David was placed on the waiting list for a donor heart this year, his father explaining, “It’s the only option.”
According to Transplant Australia, patients needing a heart transplant commonly wait nine or more months for a suitable organ donation.
Patients can often depend on Milrinone for years, but it is difficult to predict how long it will be effective for each individual, leaving David’s parents and doctors in the dark as to the urgency of a transplant.
While most children with severe heart failure can use a mechanical heart device known as a VAD until a transplant is undertaken, this option would likely be fatal for David due to the increased risks associated with having only one working ventricle.
Despite being in a state his father described as sickly stable, David is otherwise like any other child his age.
He adores his little sister Bella who keeps him company in the hospital, and is obsessed with the children’s show Mister Maker, with starring actor Phil Gallagher recently showering his young fan with signed gifts.
“He’s a happy, humble wee boy,” said Mr Glass.
David (so named for the young faithful who defeated the mighty Goliath) has his own battle ahead as he awaits a donor heart, but Mr Glass believes his son is in the best hands after he pulled through a recent surgery against all odds.
The Glass family had been told to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
“The surgeon came out crying and said God got me through that...we’ve been praying for the hands helping David.
“I said, ‘now you’re speaking my language’.”
If you would like to donate to the appeal, visit Go Fund Me.
The Glass family thank Adrienne Myszka for providing photography free of charge.