A three-year-old boy with rare medical conditions has been handed a new lease of life after receiving a donor heart.
David Hope Glass, whose father Liam Glass hails from Tyrone, underwent an eight hour transplant operation, his sixth open heart surgery in his short life.
“We got the call in the early hours…I dropped to my knees,” Mr Glass said.
“We’re feeling very excited but guilty for the family that’s lost their child.”
While the Glass family were not able to contact the family who provided the donation, they “bless them abundantly” for giving their child the greatest gift.
After months living at Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, the Glass family had been allowed to move into a nearby apartment three weeks prior to the transplant, but with just one quarter of David’s own heart functioning his parents had been told to prepare for palliative care if he relapsed.
He is now recovering well on immunosuppressants, which are preventing his body from attacking the foreign transplanted organ.
The young boy had never recuperated so rapidly from a surgery, his dad said.
“He was always blue to look at, now we see pink lips…he’s like a new boy,” his father said.
Relatives in Tyrone not only prayed for an end to the turbulent times, but also organised local fundraisers which, at the Glass family’s request, will help not only David but other children facing medical emergencies.
“There’s no stopping these people,” Mr Glass said.
“They’ve rallied around us.”
The family, who call Adelaide home, have been supported by friends and strangers alike in Australia and abroad since David’s birth, with recent assistance from Melbourne’s Irish Australian Support and Research Bureau.
Since his life-saving surgery, the three-year-old’s parents have been looking forward to the future, hoping to take their children to visit Liam Glass’ Ireland hometown in coming years.
“We’ve started to dream.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Glass family meet the costs of David’s care and recovery.