The Athletic Grounds in Armagh is the venue this Sunday for Armagh vs Antrim in the quarter-finals of the 2021 Ulster Senior Football Championship.
It is also an occasion when Ulster GAA will showcase the invaluable contribution of organ donation to our society. Following-on from the momentous announcement last week that a soft opt-out system for organ donation will begin the legislative process through the Assembly, this has indeed been a good few weeks for the campaign.
Attitudes towards organ donation are positive in the north of Ireland, with almost a million people (49%) having joined the NHS Organ Donor Register, and many more (9 out of 10 people) supporting organ donation. The Yes I Donate campaign highlights the importance of not only joining the register but of having the conversation with loved ones to inform them of your decision.
Unfortunately, there are around 115 people on the transplant waiting list here, and sadly each year around 10-15 people die awaiting their organ transplant and their gift of life.
Máirtín Mac Gabhann from the Donate 4 Dáithí campaign and father of 4-year-old Dáithí who has been awaiting a heart transplant for 3 years describes exactly how this feels:
“Nothing could have prepared us for hearing the words that a heart transplant would be Dáithí’s very last chance at life. No other options. So we wait. And wait. And wait.”
“It fills our family with pride that Antrim, Armagh and Ulster GAA are helping our campaign spread awareness of organ donation. The GAA is central to our lives and we understand the power of the GAA community. We hope that this will encourage more people to join the organ donor register and to just help normalise the talk around organ donation in our society. Awareness of organ donation saves lives, and we hope it will help save our Dáithí’s.”
As avid Antrim supporters the MacGabhann Family have forged a special relationship with the Gaels in the county, and have garnered their support for the Donate 4 Dáithí campaign.
Alongside the Antrim footballers, the Armagh team have also lent their support, with both sides being actively involved in promotion in the lead-up to Sunday’s eagerly anticipated game.