Show Some Heart on Valentine’ Day by running or walking 5km for the Irish Heart Foundation.
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.
“ I want to help the Irish Heart Foundation for the support I have received from them over the past year,”
The 5km Love Run is part of the charity’s annual ‘Show Some Heart’ February fundraising campaign which raises €150,000 each year. That vital funding is normally generated through bucket collections, bag packing and events across Ireland – but now everything has to take place online due to Covid-19.
Cabinet maker Ciaran is urging everyone to put on their training gear and sign up for the February 14 challenge. A former player with current Louth GAA club champions Naomh Mairtin and keen boxing and jiu-jitsu enthusiast, his health nightmare struck suddenly last August.
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.
" We need €150,000 every year to make sure we are there for people living with heart disease and stroke. And we must be there, because every heart matters.”
Judith Gilsenan, Head of Fundraising , The Irish Heart Foundation
“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.”
Judith Gilsenan, Head of Fundraising at the Irish Heart Foundation said thousands of people are diagnosed with a heart condition every year.
“Overnight, their life changes and they can feel vulnerable and isolated. We have been there to support people and fight against heart disease in communities, workplaces and schools,” she said.
“This 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. We need €150,000 every year to make sure we are there for people living with heart disease and stroke. And we must be there, because every heart matters.”
If you would like to take part in the virtual Love Run please register here, the registration fee is €20 and you will receive a training plan, tips and an Irish Heart Foundation neck warmer. You can walk or run the 5km. If you are unable to take part, donations (personal or corporate), can be made here.
Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Report Launched
A radical new approach to preventing chronic disease would save thousands of lives each year and protect our stretched health service, a new report by the Irish Heart Foundation and University College Cork insists today.