Inspirational Victoria College pupil Megan McGillin was diagnosed with Liver Disease at just 10 years old. Despite her illness, Megan has worked tirelessly to promote and raise funds for the Little Princess Trust and The Children’s Liver Disease Foundation.
We are extremely proud of Megan and find her bravery truly inspirational. Read an extract from Megan’s blog below.
For those that don’t know me my name is Megan Pauline McGillin, I am 13 ½ yrs old. I am the youngest of three girls and attend Victoria College Belfast Y9. I have Liver Disease.
When I was in P6 mum noticed I had become very tired and picky with my food. I never really noticed all I wanted was a sleep when I came home. I was referred to the Ulster Hospital for tests. They then referred me to Belfast Sick Children’s where I met Dr Szabo. Dr Szabo is the Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist and he is amazing. After several tests – (Biopsies, scans, bloods and more bloods) we were told that I have Cirrhosis & Fibrosis of the liver, caused by an auto immune disorder (they are not 100% sure until I have a transplant) which I will eventually require as I am currently managed with medication. More recently I have been diagnosed with Portal Hypertension which has been the scariest for me. I had an episode at home and was airlifted to Birmingham Sick Children’s Hospital for treatment.
In Northern Ireland we don’t have Liver or Heart specialists, they come here for joint clinics with the consultants based in our hospitals. I have spent many days, nights and weeks in hospital. I see many sick children, children my age and younger, very ill and others that are terminally ill. I am fortunate that I am being treated and my condition is managed, I get to go home when there are others that simply can’t.
For those that don’t know the Belfast Sick Children’s, the ward that I am most frequented with has a lot of children being treated for conditions that make them lose their hair. I decided a few years ago to grow my hair and donate it to the Little Princess Trust for children that require wigs.
As I have the ginger gene, I realised that you don’t see many children with ginger wigs, they are nearly always blonde or dark, where as I have long ginger, strawberry blonde hair. Since P7, 3 years ago I have been growing my hair and refuse to get It cut other than a trim to keep it healthy. I now have hair that I can nearly sit on and have decided that the time now is right to donate my only asset – my hair.
To make a child’s wig costs £350, this is to ensure that the hair is treated, cleaned, assembled and styled for the children. I want to collect more than that if possible so that I can also give money to the CLDF (Children’s Liver Disease Foundation), they have been a pillar of strength for me and my family. With the help of the CLDF, I have met others that have the same/similar conditions as me.
I am normal, just not 100% healthy. CLDF takes action against the effects of childhood liver disease, providing information, emotional support, research funds and a voice for all affected.
I was asked by my specialist when I was in first form what I wanted to be when I was older, I told him I wanted to be a Vet in Australia and was told that unfortunately this is one dream that I wouldn’t fulfil due to infectious diseases - I now call him my dream crusher. I want to prove him wrong but as a backup I would love to go into medicine – to give back what I have been given.
I have attached a video which tells my story.
I would love to be able to raise as much as possible for the little princess trust and the CLDF. To donate today use the links below.