CF campaigner Orla Tinsley undergoes double lung transplant

Well-wishers have been sending their thoughts across the Atlantic for cystic fibrosis campaigner Orla Tinsley who had a long-awaited double lung transplant in New York on Wednesday night.

CF campaigner Orla Tinsley undergoes double lung transplant

The news that the operation went ahead for the 30-year-old Co Kildare writer emerged yesterday, writes Niall Murray.

She previously had six calls about potential matching donors but the transplants did not proceed. She had been on life support at New York Presbyterian Hospital for several days.

The first hint of the good news came through a message she posted on Twitter that her medical team got a call on Wednesday morning local time about a potential donor match.

“Double lung transplant is a go,” she tweeted on Wednesday night, which was in the early hours yesterday in Ireland. She signed off: “Love love love #BEATCF” in reference to her years of campaigning for cystic fibrosis services (CF), that in part led to the opening of a CF unit at St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin.

A message on her Facebook page at lunchtime said the operation went ahead.

“Orla has had the surgery and is now in recovery. She will be going through a lot in the next few days so please keep her in your minds,” the message said. “We are not out of the woods yet but the trees are beginning to thin. Thanks for all your support and well wishes.”

Orla suffered respiratory failure last year in New York, where she studies at Columbia University. She has been unable to travel home due to her condition.

Among the hundreds of messages of good luck and health posted on social media yesterday was one from Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.

“On behalf of CFI and the CF community in Ireland we wish Orla success with her transplant, our thoughts are with her and her family at this time,” it said.

A fundraising campaign to assist with care and recovery costs was climbing towards €90,000 as news of her transplant emerged. It was set up by a friend on the GoFundMe website in July to help with costs that will not be covered by insurance, such as transport, oxygen and guarding against rejection of transplanted organs.

Also on Wednesday, Cork woman Isabel Terry transferred from the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle to Dublin’s Mater Hospital, three months after a life-saving heart and double-lung transplant. The 42-year-old hopes to be fit to travel back in Cork by Christmas Day.

Like Orla, Isabel has campaigned strongly for people to carry organ donor cards.

This story originally appeared in the Irish Examiner.

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