A message from Neil Johnson, Croí Chief Executive

To all our Croí community,

I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well in these very challenging times, and that you are also managing to cope with all the distressing and frightening news and stories we seem to be bombarded with on a daily basis. Remember, by following the advice and guidance from reputable sources such as www.hse.ie we will all come through this as a stronger and better community.

It has been over 3 weeks since we had to cease all our face-to-face programmes, classes and literally all our fundraising activities. The Croí Heart & Stroke Centre in Galway is now closed to visitors. Following the government directive, all the Croí Team are now working from home and on a daily basis are doing everything we can to support those who need us most at this time.

Our helpline (091-544310) is open Monday to Friday 09:00 -17:30 where you can call for advice or guidance from our health team and get to speak to a Nurse Specialist, Dietitian, Physiotherapist or Exercise Specialist. If you have a more general query or need general advice or assistance, any member of our team will gladly speak to you and if necessary collectively ‘Team Croí’ will do whatever we can to support or assist you. Even if it’s only for a chat because you or a loved one is feeling lonely or isolated, be sure to call us. Equally, you can email us anytime at healthteam@croi.ie.

On a daily basis, our team is updating reliable COVID-19 information and advice on our website, www.croi.ie and on our social media channels, @croiheartstroke. We are also generating very useful lifestyle resources and tips on such things as exercise, cooking, eating, stress management, etc.

With our changed way of working, the Croí building effectively became empty. As we are located so close to the hospital, we offered it to the HSE as a gesture of support in the fight against coronavirus. So from Monday, March 30th, the building is now being used as a regional contact tracing centre. Similarly, the Croí Apartments – our support accommodation centre which is normally made available to relatives of those in hospital receiving emergency cardiac or stroke care – can no longer be used for their purpose as visitors are no longer allowed in the hospital. Accordingly, we are making the apartments available to the ICU staff at Galway University Hospital who are on the frontline and who cannot stay at home with their families due to infection risks.

This national emergency is putting a strain on everyone and Croí is no different. COVID-19 is presenting serious challenges for us operationally and financially. Because we rely on our own revenue generating activity, all our income streams have effectively been decimated. To those who are still managing to make donations and pledges, we are hugely grateful. Our biggest challenge is trying to keep our team employed so that we can respond to the many needs of those we are here to support and also to be able to continue our work after the crisis . I must commend each and every one of the Croí Team who have risen to the challenge, instantly adapting to our changed environment and remaining 100% committed to our vision and purpose. I am proud to work with such a dedicated group of professionals.

They say that a crisis brings out the best in people and we are experiencing that right now. To our volunteers, donors, sponsors, partners and collaborators – each of you also facing your own challenges and uncertainties at this time – we offer our heartfelt thanks for your continued support and encouragement. We fully understand and appreciate that many of you are now unable to support us financially and this is likely to be so for a number of months to come. If, however, your circumstances allow and you are in a position to make a donation, please visit www.croi.ie/donate with the assurance that your contribution will immediately help those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

With sincere and grateful thanks.

Stay safe and well,

Neil Johnson
Croí’s Chief Executive