2017 has been another memorable year and sincere thanks to all our supporters with whom we share every success.
In February, we kicked off the year with our new mobile friendly website and our unforgettable Stop Targeting Kids campaign encouraging the public to sign a petition www.stk.ie to ban the promotion of unhealthy foods to kids on digital media.
Thanks to all 6,000 of you who signed our petition as we battle to prevent childhood obesity.
With the rate of stroke in Ireland set to rise by 50% in the next 8 years and combined with under resourced services, we are heading for a healthcare crisis in stroke.
In April the Irish Heart Foundation launched a new Stroke Manifesto outlining a 12-point blueprint to show how preventable death and disability from stroke could be eliminated without increasing the cost to the State.
The Irish Heart Foundation will continue to campaign on this manifesto in 2018 to keep stroke high on the government’s agenda.
This was followed by our Let’s Strike Before Stroke prevention campaign supported by the HSE reaching more than half a million adults in September urging over 40s to make time for a blood pressure check because one in four strokes happens in working age.
In May we celebrated the nation’s happy hearts through our 27th flagship appeal marked by the sale of exclusive designer pins by Orla Kiely.
Sincere thanks to the hundreds of community champions and volunteers who give up their time to raise funds in the fight against heart disease and stroke.
In June we announced our partnership with community heart projects in Monaghan and Wexford to ensure low-income communities are empowered to access affordable healthy food and physical activity.
August marked the one-year anniversary of our full-time mobile health service supported by Medtronic and Bank of Ireland which delivered more than 11,000 blood pressure checks all around the country and detected high blood pressure in 2 out of 5 participants.
We also teamed up with Pfizer and Bristol Myers Squibb to drive awareness of the importance of a regular pulse check through the 2x2x2 campaign – two fingers to feel the pulse, twice a day, for two weeks.
Early pulse checks can detect Atrial Fibrillation, the most common irregular heartbeat in Ireland affecting 40,000 adults over 50 and which carries an increased risk of stroke.
In October we celebrated a landmark victory as years of dedicated campaigning by the Irish Heart Foundation on obesity prevention achieved enormous success with the Budget announcement of a sugar sweetened drinks levy.
In the same budget, we achieved a 50-cent increase on tobacco tax as a major deterrent to young people taking up smoking. Now that’s what we call impact.
And as if the year couldn’t fit anything more – with the support of Munster Rugby and Bank of Ireland CPR took centre stage when the Irish Heart brand on the Munster jersey in memory of Axel Foley spotlighted the importance of CPR to save more lives from sudden cardiac arrest which affects 5,000 families here every year.
Sincere thanks to Axel’s wife Olive and sons Tony and Dan and to all at Munster Rugby and Bank of Ireland for their incredible support.
November marked the launch of the national CPR 4 Schools initiative with Bank of Ireland which equips teachers with the skills to deliver lifesaving CPR-training to post-primary students. Already since October an incredible 127 schools have been trained to teach lifesaving CPR skills to up to 120,000 students.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we hope we can count on your continued support in 2018.