Mother with heart condition takes on Love Run challenge

By Gillian Hogan Heart News   |   5th Jan 2022

Breda O’ Neill will be taking part in the Irish Heart Foundation’s Love Run to thank them for their ongoing support.

A mother-of-two diagnosed with a heart condition after her heart began to race and she began losing consciousness, is taking on the annual Love Run 5km challenge to thank the Irish Heart Foundation for helping her to rebuild her life.

Breda O’Neill, 52, was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia – an abnormal heart rhythm where the lower chambers of the heart beat too fast and as a result the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body.

Speaking about almost losing consciousness and ending up in ICU in 2019, she said “I didn’t know what was happening to me, I thought it was my blood pressure – so I want to raise awareness of the symptoms of ventricular tachycardia.

“The problem with my heart is not structural. I had an MRI and angiogram and everything was fine – it’s the electrics which are causing the issue for me.”

"I didn’t know what was happening to me, I thought it was my blood pressure – so I want to raise awareness"

Breda O' Neill, 52

Now Breda is urging everyone to put on their training gear and sign up for the Irish Heart Foundation’s Love Run on Valentine’s Weekend which is part of the annual Show Some Heart fundraising appeal.

In the summer of 2019, Breda, from Kildare but living in Danesfort in Kilkenny, started feeling dizzy and had a thumping feeling in her heart while doing everyday tasks such as vacuuming and walking.

A number of checks and tests identified no issues, but at work in September 2019, she was overcome by dizziness, had difficulty breathing and subsequently almost lost consciousness.

"I’m normally a very active person and I’m always on the go, and sometimes I have to slow down and stop ... Some days are bad and some are excellent"

Breda O'Neill

Her husband brought her to the hospital where a stress test was carried out, which revealed that she had ventricular tachycardia.

Breda spent some time in hospital – including a week in ICU – before being discharged.

Now she takes medication and sees an electrophysiologist once a year for a review of the electrics of her heart.

“The medication keeps my heart rate low, which means I get tired often. I’m normally a very active person and I’m always on the go, and sometimes I have to slow down and stop.

“Some days are bad and some are excellent, but the medication is very good, and my consultant is constantly tweaking it.

“I live with it, and it can happen again, but my condition is stable and I’m doing well at the moment.

“I’m part of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Heart Support Network online and it’s excellent – I find it very beneficial. I post often in the group and I love how helpful the other patients are.”

Breda O' Neill

“I live with it, and it can happen again, but my condition is stable and I’m doing well at the moment.

“I’m part of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Heart Support Network online and it’s excellent – I find it very beneficial. I post often in the group and I love how helpful the other patients are.”

Breda has signed up to walk the Love Run to help the Irish Heart Foundation again after first doing it last year.

The challenge which takes place Valentine’s Weekend can be undertaken by participants individually wherever they choose.

The vital funding it generates is normally raised through bucket collections, bag packing and events across Ireland – now most fundraising activity has moved online due to Covid-19.

 

“Next Valentine’s Day, across Ireland, people can help support those living with heart conditions and stroke and those they love by taking part in the Love Run.”

Judith Gilsenan, Head of Fundraising, Irish Heart Foundation

Judith Gilsenan, Head of Fundraising with the Irish Heart Foundation, said thousands of people like Breda are diagnosed with a heart condition every year and need support and information to navigate this.

“Overnight, their lives change and they can feel vulnerable and isolated. Thanks to the support of the public, we can be there to help them through this time through our Nurse Support Line and Support Groups,” she said.

“Next Valentine’s Day, across Ireland, people can help support those living with heart conditions and stroke and those they love by taking part in the Love Run.”

Register for €25 here and you will receive a training plan, tips and an Irish Heart Foundation beanie. If you are unable to take part, donations (personal or corporate), can be made here 

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