Orla Tinsley in recovery after double lung transplant

Cystic fibrosis campaigner got seventh call this week after six donors unsuitable

The cystic-fibrosis campaigner Orla Tinsley is in recovery following a double lung transplant.

Ms Tinsley, who is from Co Kildare but lives in New York, had spent days on life support when she received a seventh call about a possible transplant on Wednesday. The previous six donors were found to be unsuitable.

A message posted to Ms Tinsley’s Facebook page on Thursday said that the 30-year-old campaigner had made it through surgery and was in recovery. “She will be going through a lot in the next few days so please keep her in your minds. We are not out of the woods yet but the trees are beginning to thin. Thanks for all your support and well wishes.”

Ms Tinsley tweeted late on Wednesday that she had been contacted about “Lucky Number 7”. “This morning we got a call but I wanted to wait. Well, here it is, Lucky Number7. I’m not afraid..Please send love, prayers and best wishes. Double lung transplant is a go,” she said in a Twitter post.


Ms Tinsley has called on the public to become organ donors in the run-up to Christmas. “Please carry a donor card and let your family know your wishes. Then you can live life and give life. Up to 8 people can be saved. I am currently on life support fighting intensely.”

Ms Tinsley has spent years campaigning for better treatment for cystic-fibrosis patients, and began writing about the condition for The Irish Times in 2005.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 1,200 children and adults in Ireland.

‘Entire focus’

She also shared a photo on Instagram earlier this week and said her family are with her while she waits in hospital.

“This is a picture of my oxygen mask. It feels pretty apt to update with this as my entire focus now is on breathing. I am struggling a lot but I am strong and hopeful. You see, I’m a ninja. They don’t quit and they are adaptable to all situations. They karate chop their way with stealth, fancy foot work and a determined mind.

“I have an incredible team @nyphospital who are working intensely around the clock to keep me alive. We are hopeful that lungs are coming. My family are with me and we just need those lungs to come. Thanks everyone for your love and prayers and best wishes,”she wrote.

Ms Tinsley’s activism drew national attention to the shortcomings in the level of care for cystic-fibrosis patients in Ireland and led to the opening of a dedicated unit at St Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin in 2012.

In 2015 she wrote about the effect the drug Orkambi had on her, calling on the Government to make it available to patients here. It was approved for funding by Minister for Health Simon Harris this year after an extensive campaign by patients and their families.