Lord Mayor unveils her Christmas Card today with young 'star' of it
Lord Mayor, Councillor Deirdre Hargey, unveiled her Christmas Card today accompanied by the 'star' of it – a young toddler from the city who is also raising awareness of the NHS Organ Donation campaign.
Two-year-old, Dáithí Mac Gabhann, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) which is very rare and life-threatening and has undergone major surgery but now needs a heart transplant.
He is featured in the card this year as a 'superhero' standing in front of a Christmas Tree with City Hall in the background. The artwork was created for Doodles by Úna Méabh for Dáithí and his family and their current campaign of raising awareness for organ donation.
The Lord Mayor said: "When it came to my Christmas Card this year, I thought of no better person to star in it than little Dáithí who has been so brave in undergoing a number of open heart surgeries over the last two years and now needs a heart transplant to save his life.
"With his parents' Máirtín and Seph, they launched a campaign to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation and encourage people to sign the organ donor register. This is a great campaign to support as well as a great gift and message for Christmas."
Dáithí's father Máirtín said: "It's an honour for us, as a family, to be here as special guests of Belfast's first citizen to unveil her Christmas Card with Dáithí featured on the front. The support we have received from the city has been fantastic since Dáithí's organ donation journey began, and we're very proud that this has been led by Deirdre.
"She launched our campaign for organ donation back in June with 43% of the population here registered organ donors. Since then, that figure has gone up by 2% meaning that almost 40,000 people have signed the organ donor register in the last few months. We are delighted to play our very small part in that, and hope that more people will consider joining the register and making their wish known to family and friends."
Representatives from Children's Heartbeat Trust, British Heart Foundation and nurses from Clark Clinic in the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, where Dáithí has spent a lot of his time, were also among the special guests for the event in the Lord Mayor's Parlour today.