Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association

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Glory for Liam Ryan in Finland


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Sixty year old Liam Ryan from Thurles was celebrating last week after securing a double gold in golf and athletics at the 9th European Transplant Games following a heart transplant operation in 2014.

Liam, who says he is “overwhelmed by the support” he has received in the town, has heaped praise on his family, friends, medical team and former work colleagues after they rallied around him while he suffered with ill health for over a decade.

“Having received an organ donation means I could return to full health and participate fully in every aspect of life again,” he says.

The former referee and keen Peake Villa supporter first noticed his health deteriorating in 2000 and soon after he was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy or a weakening of the heart meaning he had to retire from his job as a postman in the town.

“I was a referee for ten years so I kept fairly fit but I could feel my health declining. I was very low in energy and fatigued all the time but couldn’t understand why,” explains Liam.

Following his diagnosis Liam’s health improved through a combination of medication and having an internal defibrillator fitted; however in 2010 his health began to decline once more.

A health assessment in 2014 showed that he urgently needed a transplant and he was put on the waiting list.

“I knew that if I didn’t get a transplant I wouldn’t have lived another 6 to 12 months,” he says.

Fortunately luck was on Liam’s side and within six weeks he received a call to say a match had been found and a helicopter was organised to airlift him from Thurles Rugby Club to the Phoenix Park. A final round of tests at the hospital confirmed that Liam was the closest match for the organ and the operation was given the go ahead.

“I was extremely lucky. They call two people up at the same time once an organ becomes available and choose whoever is the closest. I know lots of people who have been called but end up going home as they weren’t a perfect match.”

Thankfully the operation was a success and while recovering in hospital Liam heard about other transplant patients who were preparing for the 2014 Games in Vilnus, Lithuania.

“The physio came in to see me and said Liam you’ll come to Helsinki in two years time. She knew about my background in sport and I decided there that I would aim to be fit and healthy and use the games as a target.”

After a tough 12 month recovery period, Liam eased himself back into sport once more joining Thurles Golf Club and the gym in the local leisure centre where he gradually built up his fitness levels.

“The games were a wonderful experience but I never expected to get a gold medal. I told myself wouldn’t it be great to take bronze or silver in the 4km road race so to bring home the gold was something else entirely,” said Liam who also took gold in golf for the 19 plus handicap event.

“I want to thank my wife Joan, children Louise, Bill and Leanne, my aunt’s Bridie and Peg who said countless prayers for me for all their help and support, Premier Health Clinic Thurles, my doctors Paul Ryan and Margaret Longeran, Ryan’s Chemist and all the staff at the Mater who looked after me so well throughout my treatment,” he said.

“I would also encourage people to sign up for organ donor cards. It can be a hard topic to discuss but it can help others so much. After many years of not being able to live life to the full I’m definitely making up for lost time,” he adds.




Article courtesy of Tipperary Star:

Photo Galleries from Vantaa

Please see our Facebook page to view photo galleries from this summer's Heart and Lung Transplant Games in Finland.

Triumph for Patrick Barry at Transplant Games

By Mary Dennehy

A TALLAGHT dad who was the youngest person in Irish history to receive a heart transplant has returned home to Killinarden from the European Heart and Lung Transplant Games with two golds and one silver.

In September 1993, 11-year-old Patrick Barry was diagnosed with Viral Cardiomyopathy, an inflammatory viral disease of the heart muscle, and given only months to live.

As a heart transplant was the only treatment for Patrick’s illness, his family was told that their son would not see Christmas.
However, on December 18, 1993 a donor was found for Patrick – who at this stage weighed only four stone.

Patrick was rushed to the Mater Hospital and operated on that same day, after which the brave 11-year-old made a full recovery – and is now, at the age of 33, the proud father of two girls and looking forward to marrying his fiancé Amanda in Killarney this August.

An avid soccer fan, Patrick, who grew up in Killinarden and now lives in Cushlawn with his own family, won gold in both the tennis singles and doubles at this year’s transplant games in Vantaa, Finland, alongside winning silver in the 100 meter sprint.

Patrick, who visits the Mater Hospital for regular check-ups, told The Echo: “Being a donor can make such a difference to people’s lives.

“Take me, for example, if I didn’t get that heart I would not be alive, my children would not have been born . . . so alongside saving lives, organ donation creates lives.

“I think sometimes people may think “what’s the point” in organ donation, they believe that people who get organ donations never have a full lease of life.

“However, this is so far from the truth.

“I live a very full life, I play soccer and tennis, I have two beautiful daughters, I’m getting married next month – I work and live like everybody else.”

He added: “The transplant games are amazing and a great way of raising awareness around organ donation.

“I know it can be a difficult conversation to have but if people want to be organ donors they need to tell their families.

“When a family loses somebody organ donation can be very hard to think about, but further down the line families do get some comfort from knowing the difference their loved one made to somebody else.

“One person can save up to seven lives through the donation of their organs.”

Patrick travelled to the European games with the Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association (IHLTA), which, a voluntary organisation, started providing support to patients after the first heart transplant operation in Ireland was successfully completed in the Mater Hospital in 1985.

For further information or to learn more about donor cards visit .


Article courtesy of Tallaght Echo:


Circle of Life Garden Visit, September 2016

UPCOMING EVENT: Visit to Circle of Life Organ Donation Garden (Salthill) September 17 at 2pm.

We can confirm that the IHLTA will be visiting the Circle of Life Garden in Salthill on September 17 at 2pm. Martina and Denis Goggins will be speaking at the event, which with refreshments to follow.

We hope to see many of you there.

Room Needed

Do you have a room to spare or know someone who might?

The wife of a man currently awaiting a transplant in the Mater Hospital is seeking a room to stay in the vicinity of the hospital. Said room would preferably have access to cooking facilities, however limited they be. 

If you might be able to help (or know someone who would) please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Please Support

Conor McHugh writes:

Me and my friend Steve Austin are doing 10 Tough Mudders this year. In memory of my Mum who passed away 10 years ago this November.

That's over 120 miles of running through mud, clambering up fences, jumping through fire, getting electrocuted, swimming through ice and all round pain! This will be a hell of a journey up and down the UK, back home to Ireland and over to Germany to complete all 10! So we’ll need your help.

The reason for this insanity is to raise money and as much awareness as possible for the Heart and Lung Appeal at Mater Hospital and the Heart and Lung Transplant Association. It be will be 10 years this November that we sadly lost my amazing Mum as she waited patiently in need of a double lung transplant. The doctors, nurses and all the staff at the Heart and Lung unit at the Matter Hospital in Dublin were amazing in everything they did to help my mum. They do amazing work that can give people back the gift of life. Sadly time ran out for Mum and a matching donor could not be found. 

To help raise awareness and money I'm asking you to do 2 things:

1: Dig deep and donate what you can.

2: Register to be an organ donor.

It is a very rare thing to actually match with someone that is waiting for a transplant so we need as many potential donors as possible. In doing so you may be able to give someone the gift of life. It’s a beautiful thing. 10 years ago if there had been more people registered as organ donors, Mum may be with us today so please take a few moments to register. You can do so here:

We will be doing Tough Mudders on each of these dates:

Saturday 14th May - UK Midlands - x 1
Saturday 9th July - Dublin - x 2
Saturday 16th July - Germany x 2
Saturday 6th August - Yorkshire x 2 
Saturday 10th September - Cheshire x 1 
Saturday 24th September - London South x 2

To give you a taste of what we will be going through for 120 miles you can check this video 

My Mum was an active member of every community we lived in. She was a positive person in everything she did and even through her illness she never once complained or let it get her down. I’ll be drawing on every bit of strength and positivity she had to help me get through this challenge. I know she would be extremely proud of us doing this and helping to raise awareness, which may help others get a life saving transplant.

We will post regular updates of each event and our adventure along the way.

Huge thanks from me and Steve for all your support.

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