Teenager awaiting lung transplant reminds public to discuss organ donation

News.com South Australia

Flynn O’Malley, 17, with his parents Brian and Bridget. Picture: Tait Schmaal. Source: News Limited

CHANCES are, the call will come in the small hours of the morning. When it does, the O’Malleys will be ready. Their bags are packed, their route mapped and, just to be sure, they’ve driven the route on a trial run to the Royal Flying Doctor base at Adelaide Airport.

Eight days ago, Flynn O’Malley, 17, was officially listed on the national transplant waiting list. He suffers from a rare lung disease which has hardened his pulmonary arteries, dramatically restricting the flow of blood between heart and lungs, causing a potentially fatal elevation of pressure in his lungs and placing untenable strain on his heart.

“My pulmonary arteries are like garden hoses that have been sitting in the fridge for two years,” says Flynn calmly. “They’re really stiff, they’re not elastic.”

His condition became evident when, at five or six, he couldn’t keep up with his brother Oscar and his friends kicking a soccer ball around in their backyard near the beach at Aldinga. Diagnosed in 2007, his condition was initially managed with oral medication, and more latterly, a permanent intravenous pump inserted into his heart via his jugular. The side effects have been debilitating, keeping him from school and hampering his efforts to complete the commissions that have resulted from his Catch of the Day sculpture — made from scrap metal and salvaged car parts — winning the Young Artist award at the Brighton Jetty Classic. Continue reading