‘I had a week left to live’

By Aimee Walsh

A LOCAL man is running 100 miles to raise money for The Mater Hospital, who he says he ‘owes his life’ to after they saved his life on two separate occasions.

In 1993, Patrick Barry from Tallaght was struck down by a virus when he was just 11-years-old that led to him being diagnosed with Viral Cardiomyopathy.

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Patrick Barry is running 100 miles in February for The Mater Hospital

This resulted in him being the youngest person to ever receive a heart transplant in Ireland.

“I was a normal kid living in Tallaght, never sick in my life and I just caught a virus that attacked the muscles in my heart. They told me they would try reverse it, they put me on medication, but it was gone too far so I needed a heart transplant.

“I was 11-years-old, and its only now I realise how serious that was. I have two kids and one of them is 11 so she is the same age I was when I got my transplant. I wasn’t really worrying because I was only young, but I remember it all well,” Patrick tells The Echo.

“I was waiting in Our Lady’s Hospital for the heart and I got very sick – I was told I had a week left to live.

“Luckily, the heart came in and I was sent over to The Mater Hospital. I am still the youngest ever to get the heart transplant in Ireland. It was a big deal at the time, and it was on the front of all the papers. They only started transplanting in 1985 and I was done in 1993, so it was quite new. I took it all in my stride, I was not really a worrier.”

The transplant was a success, and Patrick went on to live a normal life, excelling in sports and even winning medals at the World Transplant Games.

25 years after his first life-threatening experience, Patrick was holidaying in Killarney with his wife Amanda for their wedding anniversary in 2019 when he suddenly suffered a cardiac arrest and his life once again was put in the hands of the staff at The Mater Hospital.

“I dropped dead to the ground. I did not feel well for a few days but me being me I didn’t say it to anyone. I literally fell one metre away from a defibrillator on the wall and fell almost against an off duty nurse, so I was blessed where it happened.

“When I had the cardiac arrest, a beat went up one side and hit a bit of scar tissue – they used to take biopsies of my heart when I was younger.

“Two days later, I woke up again back in the Mater in ICU, and again they saved me. Without the Mater Hospital I would be dead. I owe my life to them so any way I can raise funds I will.”

To show his appreciation, Patrick is attempting to run 100 miles in the month of February to raise funds for The Mater Hospital.

“I am doing it with my wife Amanda, and my two young kids are doing a good bit of it. A lot of my friends wanted to sponsor me, so I told them to do it too and now they are getting donations. It is a better way of raising money if you get people to do it.”

Patrick now lives a full and happy life with his wife Amanda and two young daughters Emily and Lucy and says he “doesn’t think” about his past health struggles.

“I am always very busy. I own a wallpaper and paint store that has been very busy during lockdown.

“I don’t really think about it, I am not a worrier. I have two girls and I am kept busy.”

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