The Mobile Health Unit saved my life

By June Shannon Heart News   |   29th Jul 2019

If it wasn’t for the Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit (MHU), Derek Bell believes that he may not have been alive to celebrate his 70th birthday recently.

Originally from Dublin, Derek and his wife Ann moved to Geashill in Co Offaly 11 years ago to be nearer to family.

In September last year Derek was at the Irish Ploughing Championships in Tullamore when he suddenly felt unwell. He had had three stents put in his heart a number of years previously and recognised the feelings he was experiencing as being similar to before.

He said he considered calling into the First Aid tent but decided against it. However, when he saw the Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit he went in for a check-up.

Derek had his blood pressure checked at the MHU and he told the staff that he was feeling unwell.

After his check up the MHU nurses suspected something was seriously wrong. They called an ambulance and he was transferred immediately to Tullamore General Hospital. From there he was sent to St James’s Hospital in Dublin to have a fourth stent put in his heart as he had a blockage in one of the main arteries.

After a week in hospital Derek was discharged home and he credits the Irish Heart Foundation’s MHU with saving his life.


After a week in hospital in Tullamore Derek was discharged home and he credits the Irish Heart Foundation’s MHU with saving his life.

“I went past the first aid tent because I didn’t know whether they would do anything with my heart. I had a feeling it was something with my heart and when I saw the Heart Foundation van there, that is where I stooped because I knew they would know more about the heart,” he recalled.

“I am very glad [I called in to the MHU] because I was brought to the hospital in Tullamore and then up To St James’s for the stent. There was a blocked artery there and if I hadn’t had gone into the van God knows I might not be here today.”

Today Derek says he is doing very well and feels “100 per cent.”

“They reckon my heart is better today than it was 30 years ago, or so the doctor tells me,” he said.

Derek sadly lost his wife Ann a little over a year ago and said the local Men’s Shed group Tullamore has been a lifeline. He attends the group every day and said “it gets me out of the house and gives me something to do. I enjoy it up there.”

“If it hadn’t had been there up in the ploughing championships where would I be today?”

Derek Bell

Derek is an advocate for heart health and knows how important it is to have a healthy diet and take regular exercise; something that his Jack Russel Lucky, a present from Ann, helps him with every day.

He has also recently joined a choir, has taken up art classes and spreads the message of the importance of looking after your heart to the members of the Men’s Shed in Tullamore.

According to Derek, the MHU is an important community resource and he recommended that anyone who sees it in their area visits for a free heart health check.

“If it hadn’t had been there up in the ploughing championships where would I be today?” he said.


Keep an eye on our Mobile Health Unit schedule and avail of your FREE blood pressure and pulse check test. All it takes is 10 minutes and it could save your life.  If you’d like to book the Mobile Health Unit – Tel: 01 6685001 or email Mobile Health Unit Administrator Emma Carter  or  Health Check Manager, Marese Damery



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