Brave Charlie all smiles following liver transplant
A nine-year-old boy celebrated Easter in a London hospital where he is recovering from a life-changing liver transplant.
Days after the operation, Charlie Lynch was sitting up and smiling in his bed in King's College Hospital.
He had been in England waiting for a liver to become available, and only a week ago his mum, Helen, said "he could not afford to wait any longer".
Charlie was born with a rare disease, and his new liver will give him the chance of a normal life.
"The doctors were so happy with him that he was out of intensive care and on to a normal ward three days after the operation. He's my champ," said Helen.
"It's been a long, hard journey, but we finally got here. My baby has a chance at a new life, and for that I'm forever thankful."
On the day after the transplant she said: "Today I have seen my son for the very first time in his nine years of life without his extended belly and his yellow skin. I cried - long have we waited for this day.
"I can't wait until he wakes up and sees himself. It's all he's ever wanted - to be a normal kid, and now he can be.
"I thought my son was going to die for so long and today I was able to finally turn off my phone after four years of it never being turned off once.
"I also was able to go to sleep knowing my son will be there when I wake up. To not have to worry about that is worth everything to me."
Helen is calling on everyone to consider being an organ donor.
"I have yet to shake the hands of the donor family, but I know when I do I'll cry because they have given my child his life back. It is a gift I will be forever grateful for."
Charlie can now look forward to returning to Co Offaly and resuming his life as a normal child. Helen said the support the family has received over the years has been "amazing".
"Tullamore is my home town and never would I have thought that so many from there would support us the way they did. We are very grateful. I know a lot of people in that town and throughout Ireland, Wales and England and the support we have received from you all has been overwhelming ."
Charlie was first diagnosed with problems when he was a month old.
Helen lived close to Crumlin Hospital while Charlie was a baby, but moved back to Tullamore when he was three and no longer needed to attend hospital quite as regularly.
This week (March 31 to April 7) is Organ Donor Awareness Week, and according to the HSE, a record 311 organ transplants from 99 dead donors were carried out in Ireland last year, an increase of 11pc on 2016.