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London Irish father fundraising for $1million heart transplant in US

Roger McCarrick-n
Roger McCarrick is seeking donations for his urgent heart transplant

A LONDON-Irish father-of-two has launched a global appeal to help raise crucial funds for a life-saving heart transplant in the US.

Roger McCarrick, 49, who is now based in California, is due to have the operation, which aims to cure a lifelong illness, at the state’s Stanford Hospital in the coming months.

But whilst the $1million cost of the treatment is covered by his health insurance, his aftercare is not.

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So, he is hoping to raise $50,000, which will include post-operation anti-rejection medication and travel, food and lodging costs.

Roger has battled his heart condition from a very young age, after his Dublin-born mother first noticed that he was very blue looking as a baby.

His sister Jaki McCarrick, who lives in Ireland, said that despite the continued challenges to Roger leading a healthy life, he maintains a calm and positive demeanour.

“Roger’s a cool, lovely person, he’s so easy to help and to be around,” she told The Irish Post. “For his entire life he’s always had a fantastic approach towards his health issues.

“He’s a positive person, very similar to my mum. He’s taking the good thing from it that his heart has been repaired in the past and he’s just focused on getting better.”

Born and raised in Camden, London, Roger was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries (TGA), a potentially life-threatening condition that is caused by abnormal development of the heart before birth.

It means that when the blood flows to the lungs and picks up oxygen, it pumps the blood back to the lungs instead of around the body.

According to his sister Jaki, Roger was one of the first people to have pioneering heart surgery at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital.

When he was eight years old the family — including his Sligo-born father, mother and three sisters — moved to Dundalk, Ireland.

Throughout his childhood and adolescent, Roger continued to have regular check-ups in both Irish and British hospitals.

In his early 20s he moved to Boston for work, where he underwent a second surgery to address new issues that had developed with his heart.

But in 2013, he faced a recurrence of his symptoms, when he started to feel short of breath and fatigued.

Now, the Virtual Engineer is hoping that a heart transplant will enable him to regain his active lifestyle, which includes snowboarding and cycling.

Since it was launched in November, the online appeal has raised over $22,000, and Jaki is optimistic that the $50,000 target will be reached within a matter of months.

“We’re definitely on target, I have confidence that we’ll be able to raise all of the money,” she said.

“Without the transplant [Roger] is living with his heart at around 25 per cent strength, but with the funds we’re sure he’s going to get back to full strength.”

Click here if you would like to make a donation.

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Nemesha Balasundaram
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Nemesha Balasundaram is a Reporter with The Irish Post. Follow her on Twitter @nemeshaB

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