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Arlene's devastated family are 'preparing for worst'

By Victoria O'Hara

The devastated family of a mother-of-two from Belfast who was flown to England for specialist liver treatment but deteriorated rapidly are said to be "preparing for the worst" within the next 24 hours.

Arlene O'Hara from west Belfast was rushed to the Royal Victoria Hospital last week after becoming ill. The former pupil at St Louise's Comprehensive College was then transferred to King's College in London on Saturday.

Mrs O'Hara, who is in her early 30s, needed a liver transplant but her health quickly declined and she was placed on life support.

Yesterday, friends of the family said they were now "expecting the worst" within the next 24 hours.

Mrs O'Hara, who worked at Dunnes in the Parkgate Centre, was described as being "one in a million".

Sinn Fein Councillor Steven Carr, who knows Arlene and her husband Tommy, said the family have been left numb by what has happened.

"They are all just in shock," he said.

"They couldn't believe that this has happened, they are just numb. They are overwhelmed by the community support, but just want to get their daughter home."

He added: "The family are in a real state of flux and are waiting. They are expecting the worst and know the worst is coming."

The news has also sparked shock among the west Belfast community, with friends and loved ones saying it has left them "heartbroken".

Hundreds messages of support for her family have also been made on social media.

Michelle Carson posted on Facebook: "She was one in a million that touch the hearts of everyone she met. Thoughts go out to her family husband and kids"

Joan McKnight described it as a "heart-breaking blow. Prayers said for her husband and boys," she said.

Mr Carr said that the community will be supporting the family and fundraising to financially assist them. "The community are just trying to raise money for whatever the O'Hara family need during this terrible time," he said.

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