A 30-year-old man who had three heart attacks and feared he would not survive to become a father, has signed up for the Irish Heart Foundation’s Show Some Heart 5km challenge on Valentine’s Day to thank the charity which helped him to rebuild his life.
Originally from Louth but living in Camolin, Co Wexford, Ciaran Byrne was stunned when last year he had to have two stents inserted into his heart and was told he needed urgent cardiac care.
“The only thing I kept thinking about was that I am 30 years old and I never got to meet my kids. I felt so old and bad about myself. I felt like an old man in a young man’s body,” he said.
Despite his diagnosis with unstable angina, Ciaran, has signed up to walk the virtual Love Run to help the Irish Heart Foundation bridge a major funding gap caused by the pandemic.
A former player with current Louth GAA club champions Naomh Mairtin and keen boxing and jiu-jitsu enthusiast, Ciaran’s health nightmare struck suddenly last August.
“ I want to help the Irish Heart Foundation for the support I have received from them over the past year,”
After struggling with persistent chest pains, vision difficulties and breathlessness, he was admitted to Wexford General Hospital. An MRI scan and angiogram revealed he had suffered three previous heart attacks, had a major blockage in his coronary artery and was fitted with two stents to clear it.
Now planning to set up his own business, he had signed up for the 5km Love Run as a way of thanking the Irish Heart Foundation for getting him on the road to recovery. He is also hugely thankful to his girlfriend Nicola Shiel for her unwavering love and support.
Ciaran is a member of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Heart Support Network on Facebook and has also received help and reassurance from the charity’s nurse support line.
“I want to help the Irish Heart Foundation for the support I have received from them over the past year,” said Ciaran.
“I am doing the Love Run for my parents, my brothers, for my family, for their future families, I am doing this for everybody’s family. I have three brothers and seeing their reactions when they realised that they nearly lost me was heartbreaking, it was very difficult for my parents as well.”
Urging others not to ignore symptoms, he insisted: “Your body will tell you when there is something wrong. It is up to you to listen to it.”