AN Omagh man who ‘got his life back’ after a ‘miracle life-changing’ double lung transplant has urged people to become an organ donor.
Denis Pritchard from the Dryarch Road outside Omagh underwent a life-saving double lung transplant at Freeman’s Hospital in Newcastle in 2014.
Since his operation six years ago Denis has welcomed three more grandchildren into his family.
However, prior to the transplant, he was extremely ill and needed oxygen 24 hours a day.
Denis was on the transplant list for around four months and after two cruel false alarms, it was third time lucky as he finally received the life-saving donation.
Speaking to the TyroneHerald, Denis said, “I was very ill when I got the transplant.
“I had struggled for a few years and I was getting 11 litres of oxygen a day, so I was in a very bad way.
“I was on the transplant list for around four months, and I had two false alarms where the organs were deemed not suitable but fortunately it was third time lucky for me,” he added.
Following his surgery, Denis spent seven and a half weeks in intensive care with his wife Brigid by his side.
The couple spent four months in Newcastle before Denis was allowed to return home to Omagh.
Denis’s recovery has been a success and although he has to take medication daily, he has not looked back
The local man continued, “To be given a second chance at life is unbelievable and nothing short of a miracle.
“I am highly medicated to prevent rejection because the new organs are foreign to my body.
“It was a very difficult time for my wife and the rest of my family who have been a great help and support to me.
“Since the operation, I have been able to welcome three extra grandchildren into our family so that’s another miracle to be here and see that.”
Throughout Denis’s journey, the couple met many families who were blessed with the gift of organ donation, but also many who sadly lost their lives waiting on a transplant.
Denis and Brigid are now urging people to sign up and become organ donors to help improve the lives of those in need.
Brigid explained, “There were a lot of things we were unable to do and lots of places we were unable to go.
“To wake up at night and find your husband at the end of the bed gasping for air – the memories were so bad and you tend to put them to the back of your head, but we really don’t
want people to suffer the way we suffered.”
Denis said he will be “eternally grateful” to his organ donor, and hopes that by speaking out, more people will join the register.
“It is the gift of life – it really is a miracle,” he said.
“Unfortunately there are currently over 100 people waiting on a transplant in Northern Ireland.
“We have to opt in to become an organ donor so it so important that people sign up and hopefully in the near future the ‘opt out’ system will be introduced,” concluded Denis.