Richard Porter with his two sons at Kirkinriola Primary School, Ballymena
Kirkinriola Primary School and Kirkinriola Early Years are proud to announce a series of Christmas jumper days every Friday throughout December to raise funds for the Northern Ireland Transplant Association.
This initiative holds special significance for the school community as it rallies behind one of its own, Richard Porter, a parent with a child in the school, who recently underwent a life-changing heart transplant with crucial support from the Northern Ireland Transplant Association.
In 2021, shortly after celebrating his 40th birthday and welcoming his second child, Mr. Porter was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called amyloidosis, as well as myeloma.
After nearly two years of battling the illness, he received the devastating news that his heart was irreparably damaged by amyloidosis. In February 2023, he was placed on the emergency list for a heart transplant, and due to the nature of the surgery, he had to undergo the procedure in Birmingham, away from his home in Northern Ireland.
Despite the challenges, a suitable donor miraculously became available within weeks, and Mr. Porter successfully underwent a 10-hour surgery.
Over the next seven months, he faced the risk of rejection and infection, leading to multiple hospital visits. The entire Porter family had to relocate to Birmingham, forcing Mr. Porter and his wife to give up their jobs and their 7-year-old child to leave school.
Throughout this tumultuous journey, the Northern Ireland Transplant Association played a pivotal role in providing unwavering support, offering invaluable advice that was not available elsewhere.
Expressing gratitude for the support received, Mr. Porter is determined to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation, the need for family support, and the commendable work of the Northern Ireland Transplant Association. Richard said:
"This journey has been an incredible test of resilience and the power of community. The support my family and I received from the Northern Ireland Transplant Association has been nothing short of a lifeline.
"I am now committed to raising awareness about the critical need for organ donation, the challenges families face, and the amazing work done by organisations like the Northern Ireland Transplant Association. It's a chance for me to give back and share the importance of coming together to support those in need."
Children of the school taking part in the fundraiser!
Mrs McCaffrey, the Principal of Kirkinriola Primary School, commented:
"Our school community stands united in solidarity with the Porter family. Richard's journey has showcased the strength within our small, rural community. It's a testament to the power of support and the incredible work of organisations like the Northern Ireland Transplant Association.
"We are proud to come together for this fundraising initiative, not just as a school but as a family, to contribute to a cause that goes beyond our immediate community—touching lives and spreading awareness about the importance of organ donation and support networks."
To learn more about the Northern Ireland Transplant Association, please visit https://nitransplant.org/
To contribute to Richards fundraising efforts, with all proceeds going to the Northern Ireland Transplant Association, please press / click here.