Published Monday, 18 June 2012
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Brian Anderson says his son Gareth's demise was a tragedy that no other young person needs to go through.
Gareth took his first drink aged 16 and three years later was admitted to the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald with severe liver problems.
His distraught father went public in 2009 to highlight his plight and to raise awareness of his fight to get his son a transplant.
Gareth eventually received treatment at King's College in London and had been turning his life around until he went on a drinking binge which lasted a few days following an argument.
As a result, his liver failed for the last time.
His father said: "Vodka seemed to be the killer for him. Knowing that, he drank so much of it that he would blow up the liver that he had repaired in London in 2009."
To me, unfortunately, this was like an act of suicide.
Brian Anderson on UTV Live
Gareth had been found by friends, during his final drinking binge, who took him to hospital.
Mr Anderson described to UTV the moment he visited his son in the Ulster Hospital.
"I walked in [to the ward] to find Gareth in a very, very stressful condition, and also, again, he had turned yellow where the liver had failed to function."
The 22-year-old's condition continued to deteriorate and he died last Monday.
"We battled hard at the time to get us to London and we got him there and got him fixed temporarily, and it was a temporary fix, four to five years he was given.
"For 13 months, Gareth was clean. Unfortunately just more than a year ago he went for a week's holiday and slipped."
Mr Anderson, along with the help of local MP Jim Shannon, tried to get Gareth into various treatment facilities.
"He was acting very erratically.
"The bottom line is unless Gareth helped himself over this last period of time, a year or more, we couldn't help him. I couldn't help him.
"I explained all that to him. 'If you help yourself son, we will help you, but until you try and help yourself I can't help you.'"
Mr Anderson told UTV that his son's life was a struggle and was always going to be a struggle unless Gareth gave up alcohol for good.
"Truthfully, I didn't know Gareth had any illnesses until this illness happened in 2009," he said, adding that after his son received help the rules were very simple.
"He was not to take alcohol and he took the alcohol."
His father maintains that if his son had stayed off drink, his long term health would have improved.
"He had his chance, but he didn't take it."