"Two people get a call and only person can get the heart so I was lucky" - woman describes her heart transplant experience

Some 550 people in Ireland are on organ donation waiting lists at present

"Two people get a call and only person can get the heart so I was lucky" - woman describes her heart transplant experience

Jamie-Andrea Yanak / AP/Press Association Images

Aoife Farrell describes how a series of supposed panic attacks in her youth, later escalated into a serious heart condition that required organ donation.

Aoife was 17 when she suffered a 'minor heart attack' which indicated that she had a severe heart condition.

Speaking to Pat Kenny she said: ''A defibrillator was installed and a few months later I suffered a stroke and I lost all the power in the right side of my body. They said I was really lucky because I was so young.''

It later transpired that Aoife had developed a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which Aoife explained was an enlargement of the heart muscle in the bottom part of the heart which was causing poor blood flow.

The ordeal forced her to withdraw from her Leaving Cert year and she began a new treatment plan with medication. She was later informed by a cardiologist that she was experiencing fluid retention which meant that she needed to do tests to assess the strength of her heart.

When she was told that a heart transplant was required, she was admirably upbeat about her situation despite still being physically unable to return to school.

''I don't remember it being horrible news and I just took it in my stride. While I had heart failure, I could barely leave the house. I'd take three steps and I'd have to stop to get my breath.''

''I did sometimes think 'why me?' but I just decided to try and stay happy. The only way to go was to get better.''

Aoife was put on a transplant list which required her to remain in the country and have a hospital bag packed at all times to await a call. And eventually, at the age of 20, she was informed that a heart had been located but nothing was certain at that point. 

''The transplant co-ordinator was being really reassuring and said there's a heart and we're hoping that it will suit you. Two people get a call to say there's a heart and in the end only person gets it so I guess I was really lucky.'' 

''I don't remember being in any pain (as a result of the surgery) When I was out of ICU, I had to get up everyday and I couldn't sleep sitting up because my chest was in pain.''

Aoife was discharged a week and a half after the surgery.