Dromahair successfully fundraise for new defibrillator
By Cian Murphy
The distressing scenes involving Danish soccer international Christian Eriksen, who suffered cardiac failure on the pitch at Euro 2020, has brought home the importance of having access to defibrillators and people trained in how to use them.
In Dromahair in North Leitrim, the efforts to revive and successfully save the Danish star made members of the club thankful that they have recently joined the ranks of those who have fundraised for a new AED through the GAA Community Heart Programme.
Their Healthy Club Officer Tracey Kelly says the incident has made people stop and think.
She told gaa.ie: “Seeing what happened in the soccer really does bring home how important these things are and the benefit that they can be for your club and the community.
“People in the club have said it to me since that it makes them realise how valuable it is to have access to a defibrillator - although hopefully, we never need it.
“Our pitch is a community pitch. It is in a community area that has a playground and recently also a full-size Astro pitch and a community walkway. The defib will be based there. It’s of benefit to the GAA club and Naomh Pádraig LGFA and to the whole community.
“What happened with Christian Eriksen makes you realise how important they are.
“My advice to other clubs thinking about is to go for it – 100 per cent. The community will come together behind it.
“We had a local businessman who kindly offered to make up the difference but we were able to get the target (€2,150) because we said if everyone in the village gave the price of a coffee we’d be able to afford the unit and get over the line and these units can make all the difference in saving a life.
“The training is important too. You saw with the soccer players that there was a player who knew what to do in the recovery position and to make sure Eriksen didn’t swallow his tongue.
“We’ve a fabulous GP in our area and involved with the club, Gerry Ballantine, but he is only one person, so this is a great peace of mind to have in the area.
“If we save one person’s life as a result of having it in the community then it has been worth it.”
Clubs in all four provinces are currently fundraising for one of the new units which have been discounted for clubs, but also the Stryker manufactured model involved is connected to the internet to stay in contact with club representatives to alert them of any issues to ensure it stays operational.
Tracey added: “It can be hard on clubs especially during Covid to be out checking the unit to make sure it was working but, this way, with the new unit, it is great to know that it has been set up and linked to the secretary’s email and I have it too on my laptop and we know if anything needs to be checked we will be alerted.
“We will still carry out checks, but if for some reason it fell between the cracks and wasn’t checked, at the back of your mind you know it is working.
“We mainly used social media to push fundraising and it took about a month. With Covid it was difficult because there have been a lot of worthy charities looking for people to support, which is great, but we had a meeting and said if we can get behind this we will get it done and the whole community got behind it, even non-GAA people, because they could see that the whole community is going to benefit from it being there, although please God we never need to use it.
“There is a defib group in Dromahair and we hope with their help to organise outdoor training shortly. Our aim is to have at least one person per every age group who is trained up on the unit and anyone else then who wants to be involved. Knowing what to do can make all the difference.”
Clubs who do not have access to a defibrillator are strongly encouraged to do so. Clubs who have a unit that is more than 10 years old are also advised to consider a replacement and upgrade and for all units to always be Accessible, Checked and Charged and with people Trained in their use.
Where can a Club find out more about the Community Heart Programme?
Communication and a registration link to the Community Heart Programme has already been sent to all GAA Club secretaries. Club members can find out more information and look up their club to place a donation at: https://savealife.communityheartprogram.com/gaa