Orla Tinsley. (Photo via Gofundme campaign page)
A fundraising campaign has been launched to help Newbridge Cystic Fibrosis campaigner Orla Tinsley as she prepares to undergo a double lung transplant.
The Kildare woman, who turned 30 recently, has been on the transplant list in New York since the end of March.
The CF campaigner and journalist moved Stateside to study at Columbia University three years ago.
She is now too sick to fly home - but the operation will greatly improve her quality of life.
Her friend, the writer Belinda McKeon, has set up the online appeal with the aim of raising $50,000.
The cost of Orla’s transplant will be covered by medical insurance, but some aspects of treatment and aftercare, including transplant and oxygen, will cost extra.
Good aftercare is crucial in helping transplant patients recover, but is likely to be costly.
“After years of helping others, Orla now needs our help. She would never put it this way herself, but as her friend and as a long-time admirer of her work, her spirit and her downright grit, I'm saying it,” writes Ms McKeon on the Gofundme page set up yesterday.
“Orla Tinsley is generous, inspirational, and completely in love with life in a manner which reminds the rest of us of the reasons why we might feel the same way. She's facing a very tough time ahead, and we can help to make it a little easier and less stressful.”
Orla added: "I am proud that I have been able to make a positive contribution with my life and hope I have been worthy of it. Living with CF is a challenge but living at all can be a challenge. I was lucky to have a mission and to know it from a very young age. Now I am older and my time is running out. Unless I get a life saving lung transplant I will die.
"I am too unwell to come home to Ireland for the surgery but I am lucky to have an amazing transplant team here. Transplant is about recovery and hard work afterward where I will have to rehabilitate and live with my new lungs. Hard work afterwards is what make the difference in survival.
"I need to stay close to the hospital for one year until I recover and work hard at rehabilitation and take on all the other challenges post transplant life bring. I am ready for this. I am ready for this new challenge and my warrior heart is open. But I need your help. I am so grateful to Belinda for being so supportive and taking the pressure off me at this time."
To donate to the Gofundme campaign to help Orla, click here.
The Kildare woman is a past recipient of the Kildare Person of the Year and in 2008 was named Rehab Young Person of the Year. She was instrumental in the fight to build an adult CF unit in Dublin.