2029. Dáithí Mac Gabhann
Dáithí Mac Gabhann, aged 6, from Belfast, has inspired changes to Northern Ireland’s organ donation laws, with ‘Dáithí’s Law’ due to implement an ‘opt-out’ organ donation system that will bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK.
Dáithí was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and has been waiting for a heart transplant for most of his life. Through his efforts and the campaigning of his family, Dáithí has inspired a new law that will be introduced in June 2023 and will mean that all adults in Northern Ireland will be considered potential organ donors unless they choose to opt out or are in an excluded group, significantly helping to save lives. Those excluded from deemed consent legislation are children under 18, people who lack the mental capacity to understand the change in law and visitors to Northern Ireland and temporary residents.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak presented the award to Dáithí and his family on a visit to Northern Ireland marking the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (pictured with his parents Mairtin and Seph and his baby brother Cairbre. Picture by Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street)
In a personal letter to Dáithí, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Every day I write a letter to thank someone for doing something remarkable for others. Today is very special, because I get to thank you.
“The bravery and determination you have shown in campaigning to change the law on organ donation in Northern Ireland is truly inspiring.
“With Daithi’s Law you are helping others in your situation to get the life-changing help they need. It is a huge achievement.
“In your father’s words: ‘Exceptional things happen for exceptional people’.
“I agree with him that you are truly exceptional and so I am delighted to recognise your courage by naming you as the UK’s 2029th Point of Light.
“The whole country is with you as you continue your treatment.”