Marie Dunican Is Managing To Live Well With Heart Failure

Let’s focus on living, because even with heart failure, you can still be you. Don’t let heart failure stop you. #HeartFailureAwareness

Like us all, Marie Dunican has had memorable birthdays. However, her most recent one proved to be more memorable than most, but for all the wrong reasons as she was diagnosed with heart failure. Despite this setback, Marie is determined to get her life back, get back to work and start living a normal life once again.

“I was diagnosed for my 54th birthday! I was often tired however I put that down to my job, but on the day it happened, I knew I wasn’t right. I wasn’t feeling great at 10pm that night and I said, ‘I need to go to hospital.’ I knew myself I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t climb the stairs, I got really sick and my lungs were full of fluid.”

Once admitted to hospital, Marie was diagnosed and treated for heart failure. With this diagnosis, Marie was able to start adjusting her lifestyle to better manage her condition. She monitors her symptoms on a daily basis to ensure that her condition is kept in check. “I weigh myself every day and I know by my weight if it goes up in a short space of time that the fluid is building up in my lungs and I need to contact the doctor immediately.”

A hiker by nature, Marie tries to get out and exercise regularly, particularly since her diagnosis. “I would be good for climbing hills. I would be fit and I get on the bike as often as I can.” Once she was discharged from hospital, Marie contacted Croí for some support and advice on how she should manage and live with her condition.

“I was really stressed the day I rang Croí. I rang for advice and to see how I can manage this. When I spoke to the nurse in Croí, she reassured me that help is available and gave me the support and information I needed.”

Heart failure can affect different people in different ways. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people are at risk of heart failure and it is the most frequent cause of hospitalisation in people over the age of 65.

Heart Failure Awareness week runs from Oct 4th – 10th. For more information, click here.

Mary Hoare is all set for her latest challenge

Age is but a number for Mary Hoare. The 80 year old, who lives in Cork, has signed up for Croí’s Virtual 5km Night Run which takes place on Friday October 8. This is Mary’s second time taking part as she also did the 5km event last year.

Mary was keen to support Croí and the work they do as she has had family members suffer cardiac problems in past. In February 2020, Mary’s son John suffered a heart attack while getting into his car. It was only due to the good fortune of a trained medic who was passing the scene that John was immediately attended to and made a full recovery after a number of months of care. Mary said, “John was very young and fit, then one morning he suffered a heart attack getting into his card and it was a very scary time for him but thankfully he is now fully recovered.”

The 5km distance will not be a problem for Mary as she recently completed both the Women’s Mini Marathon and the Cork Mini Marathon on the same day! The two events had a combined distance of 16km. While earlier this summer she completed 100 Miles in a Month for the Mater Hospital. Mary is also a regular at her local park run in Cork which have recently returned, “They are a great way to get you up and moving, some Saturdays you might not feel like it but once you come back you feel great that you did it.”

Ahead of International Day of Older Persons on October 1st Mary is very keen to encourage people to get up and stay active, “Exercise is a great way to keep active and keep moving, it is also great from a social side. Some older people stay in and don’t move, but I was always active. I am in walking group that meets every Monday and it is great to get out and meet up with people and get some exercise.”

Mary is looking forward to tackling the Croí Virtual Night Run on Friday, October 8th. Join with your family, friends or colleagues to run, walk or jog the 5km distance in aid of Croí.

The power of cycling: Pat Horan, 70, shares his recovery story

This week is Men’s Health Week. Croí cyclist, Pat Horan, shares his story to help raise awareness and support others.

Pat Horan, from Aglish in North Tipperary, credits his daily hour of cycling for keeping him fit and healthy at 70 years of age. Well known as the owner of Pat Horan Motors, a family run business with motorhomes and campers for sale, Pat is gearing up for the Croí Corrib Cycle, in aid of a charity that is very close to his heart.

In 2017, while Pat was out for his daily cycle and only one mile from home, he lost all energy and knew something wasn’t right. He didn’t have the typical heart attack symptoms of chest pain, but he knew he needed to get to the doctor right away. Pat was rushed to Limerick where he received stents in his heart, and then was referred to Dublin for a triple heart bypass.

Pat went to great lengths to reduce his risk of heart disease, even cutting out butter, sugar and salt from his diet over 25 years ago, but Pat’s family history was something that could not be modified. His advice for people recovering from heart surgery is to get out and get active: “You will be sore, but get out and go for a walk. Fresh air is amazing… do what you can and drink plenty of water,” says Horan.

Pat credits cycling and his fitness level for keeping him alive. “I go at my own pace, I like cycling on my own as there is no pressure. I head off at 8am in the morning and it sets me up for the day,” says Horan.

Pat on his bike

Pat is a motor sport enthusiast, and is looking forward to the restrictions being lifted so he can travel to Europe again to compete in the rallies with his youngest daughter, Noelle, his co-pilot. They have been invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the last number of years and also have taken part in the Legendary Eifel Rally Festival.

Pat is looking forward to a great day out at the Croí Corrib Cycle on Sunday, July 11th. Learn more and register now at croi.ie/cycle. Funds raised support Croí’s work in fighting heart disease and stroke.