A message from Christine Flanagan, Croí’s Director of Fundraising
As we come to the end of this hard year, I hope you and your loved ones are safe, and that you’ll be able to be with each other at Christmas.
However, Christmas isn’t an easy time for some. Sharon used to love Christmas, but she says, “Ever since my mum died of a heart attack, it’s been hard. She was too young!”
Watching a family member suffer is a heart-breaking experience. That’s why, with your help, Croí Heart and Stroke Charity acts as a safe haven to families whose loved ones have been rushed to hospital for emergency heart or stroke care.
COVID-19 has upended the entire world, and Croí is no exception. People with heart disease who get COVID-19 can be at a much greater risk. Yet most of the events that usually support our work have been cancelled. That’s why, this year, our annual Golden Ticket Raffle campaign is more important than ever.
Tickets are just €5, with a €5,000 cash fund. Most importantly, each ticket you sell will help Croí keep families like Sharon’s together.
Sharon hasn’t only been the terrified loved one of a patient. She’s been a patient fearing for her life, too. Two years ago, when Sharon was just 40, a cardiac stress test showed she had a heart condition so serious her doctor said she shouldn’t even go home. She was told to go straight to Galway University Hospital for further tests and evaluation.
At Galway, it was discovered that Sharon needed immediate surgery to insert a cardiac stent to prevent a heart attack. She was kept in hospital for her safety.
Sharon was terribly frightened and anxious. She needed her family, especially her husband Noel, to be with her. But they lived five hours away in Donegal. The idea of staying in an expensive Galway hotel indefinitely with the whole family just added unnecessary stress.
When one of Sharon’s nurses saw how distressed Noel was to go back to Donegal so far away, she called Croí. The nurse knew that, thanks to you, we provide over 100 families a year a place to stay in Galway at the Courtyard Apartments at Croí House, where they can be close to loved ones during cardiac treatments. These apartments are funded entirely by donations from people like you and fundraisers like the Golden Ticket Raffle.
This made all the difference. Noel could be with Sharon all day long, and return to a private apartment to shower, sleep and recover. And he was able to bring Caitlín, Sharon’s oldest daughter, with him from Donegal.
Caitlín told me, “That meant so much to me. I was unsettled at home in Donegal, with Mum in the hospital. I felt much better in Galway with her.”
Sharon’s fears were relieved with Noel and her daughter nearby.
Sharon’s dad was so grateful for what Croí did for his daughter and her family, he wanted to do his part. He held an epic fundraiser for Croí, driving his 1961 Vintage Tractor from Mizen Head to Malin Head to raise €12,000 to help prevent heart disease!
Tragically, not long after his amazing effort, Sharon’s dad had a heart attack himself and passed away — despite having no prior symptoms. In addition to her grief about losing a second parent to heart disease, Sharon also became worried about Noel, who had high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
So when Croí opened HeartLink West, a special telephone helpline, in May, Sharon and Noel called. Together with the nurses of HeartLink West, Sharon and Noel’s family came up with a plan to address and improve Noel’s health concerns. As they need continued consultation, Sharon’s mind is put at ease, knowing that the support they need is only a phone call away.
The impact of heart disease on a single family like Sharon’s shows just how common it is in Ireland, and how critical Croí’s mission is. Sharon lives every day with the pain of loss, and worries about her own health. She is terrified for the health of her loved ones.
She asked me to tell you, “Please do whatever you can for Croí! It’s a great cause!”
What would help so much right now is for you to help make our Golden Ticket Raffle a huge success this Christmas. Each ticket costs just €5, and there are so many great cash prizes to win, with a total prize fund of €5,000!
It’s easy to sell tickets to friends, neighbours or work colleagues, and we now have an online option. Just go to www.croi.ie/raffle and enter your unique ID#. You can also buy tickets for yourself or use them as gifts. The raffle takes place on the 21st of December, so there’s time to request more tickets. The more tickets you have, the more chances you have to win amazing cash prizes. And every ticket you sell helps provide education, lifestyle programs, cardiac research, and support services like HeartLink West — as well as a comforting place to stay at Courtyard Apartments for families who are dealing with fear and stress.
You’ll help heart patients and families, too, so please sell as many Golden Tickets as you can and return the funds in the enclosed envelope. Every Golden Ticket counts!
Director of Fundraising