Christmas is a time for reflection and there has been so much to reflect on over the past 12 months.
Sadly, the global COVID-19 pandemic continued to shape our lives in 2021 however, thanks to vaccinations we are in a different space than we were this time 12 months ago.
Here at the Irish Heart Foundation we know that heart disease and stroke don’t go away just because COVID is here, in fact in many ways the pandemic has worsened the burden of those living with heart disease and stroke due to the isolation caused by necessary public health restrictions, and delayed presentations to hospital.
Throughout 2021, as we have been doing for more than 50 years, the Irish Heart Foundation continued to care for and support all those living with heart disease and stroke and their loved ones.
“I want to help the Irish Heart Foundation for the support I have received from them over the past year,”
In 2021, we continued to support heart and stroke patients through online and telephone support. Our groups continued to be a lifeline for people living with heart disease and stroke, people like Ciaran Byrne who we met and supported this year.
Ciaran had three heart attacks at the age of 30, and in 2021 he signed up to take part in our Valentine’s Day Love Run.
Originally from Louth but living in Camolin, Co. Wexford, Ciaran was stunned when in 2019 he had to have two stents inserted into his heart and was told he needed urgent cardiac care.
Ciaran is a member of our Heart Support Network on Facebook and has also received help and reassurance from our 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 very thankful for this incredible service,”
In 2021, our new Stroke Check-In Service, formed in response to the pandemic the previous year, went from strength to strength. The service helps stroke survivors nationwide make the transition home and start rebuilding their lives with confidence. Our staff and volunteers help patients address the sense of abandonment they often feel after leaving hospital, ensuring nobody has to face the future without expert help.
Sinead Sweeney, a stroke survivor from Roscommon said that for her, the service offered great peace of mind.
“The Stroke Check-In Service was great peace of mind for me, knowing I could ask questions to the support nurses that understood what I was going through. It was great that the local coordinator was able to link in with the local community services for me that was very important as I wanted to do as much rehabilitation at home as possible to be home with my children. I enjoyed having a chat with the support volunteer weekly, I am very thankful for this incredible service,” Sinead said.
Another stroke survivor who availed of the service, Eddie Leavey, said it was instrumental in his recovery.
“I want to say a big thanks to the Irish Heart Foundation Stroke Check-in Service Team, for the support and counselling after my discharge from hospital. With your help, I’m now well on the way to full recovery. I found the exercise sessions particularly helpful in improving my balance and strength. Being in contact with many others at a difficult time was welcoming and encouraging,” Eddie said.
" We are committed to continue to be there for everyone affected by heart disease and stroke throughout COVID and beyond."
In addition to the phone check-in service, our nurse support line is available to answer questions any member of the public may have on any aspect of heart disease and stroke. Nurses can be contacted 9am-1pm, Monday to Friday, by calling: 01 668 5001 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
All of us in the Irish Heart Foundation are proud of our long heritage in Ireland. Since 1966 we have served generations of families. We are also proud of what we have achieved during the past 12 months despite and because of the devastating pandemic and, we are committed to continue to be there for everyone affected by heart disease and stroke throughout COVID and beyond.
We couldn’t have done any of this lifesaving work without the commitment, hard work and generosity of our volunteers and donors.
Brighter days are coming, thank you for your kind support.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and New Year.
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