Dungiven lad Ryan O’Connor continues to amaze everyone he meets with his inspiring journey that has witnessed tragedy turn into overwhelming positivity.
Showing that anything is possible, the 19-year-old hopes Christmas 2013 will be different this year.
Twelve months ago, Ryan received news he was getting a new heart - news he had been waiting for since the day he was born. He had the life changing heart transplant in Newcastle but, just days after the operation, there were complications and Ryan had both legs amputated.
With much support and rehabilitation, Ryan is now walking. He says his rate of progress has impressed those working on his rehabilitation at Musgrave Park Hospital, where Ryan met health minister Edwin Poots when he opened the new rehabilitation garden last week.
“The garden is great and will make things easier for people . The minister said he had a friend who lost his legs in a war. I told him I felt like I’d been through a war,” said Ryan. “The year has gone by quickly. People can’t believe I’ve come so far, but, if you have a positive mind and the will, you can do it.”
Ryan is walking with the aid of crutches, but shortly he hopes to get his new ‘c-legs’, allowing him to walk unaided.
“It’s going to be hard work,” said Ryan, “but it will make such a difference because, at the minute, I’m frustrated I can’t do as much as I want to. It’ll be nice too, coming up to the anniversary of losing my legs.”
In the meantime, Ryan plans to continue his media studies and start driving lessons.