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Gold medal awarded to Sligo woman who is longest living lung transplant survivor in the world

A Sligo woman who was once told she had days to live is today celebrating being the longest living survivor of a lung transplant in the world.

The Irish Heart and Lung Transplant Association today awarded Vera Dwyer with a gold medal to mark 30 years since her lung transplant.

The 77-year-old great-grandmother also had a kidney transplant nine years ago.

Vera Dwyer. Picture: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Ms Dwyer said she had no idea that was being honoured.

"It hasn't even sunk in yet that I've got it. It's a great surprise," she said.

"I should be giving them medals. Because they were so good to me in every way here."

Ms Dwyer added that she has always wanted to thank her donor's families.

"Oh Lord my God, I wouldn't be here today only for my doner.

"I'm sure they'd be delighted to see how well I was doing and the way I was looking after my kidney and my lung."

Ms Dwyer underwent the lung transplant operation in the Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospital in London in 1988 after her lungs began to fail because of a condition called fibrosis alveolitis — a progressive thickening of the walls of the air sacs of the lungs.

She was told that her life expectancy post-op was five years.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner earlier this year about being doubly blessed by organ donation, Ms Dwyer says: "Only for my two donors I would be long gone — I pray for them every single day and for their families... they were so good to donate their organs."

- Digital Desk