3rd November 2023
Sligo marathon runner Molua Donohoe’s life was recently saved by the combined CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) actions of his 18-year-old daughter Alannah, local Community First Responder Reece Cawley, and RNLI volunteer Daryl Ewing.
A lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, 58-year-old Molua had run more than 50 marathons when he suffered an unexpected cardiac arrest while exercising on a rowing machine in his home.
The Rosses Point resident recently helped to promote Restart a Heart Day when the public were asked to know the location of their nearest AED (Automated External Defibrillator):
“I had run more than 50 marathons and was generally in good health when I collapsed. Luckily my teenage daughter Alannah was in the house and immediately started CPR - taking instructions on the phone from the emergency services. Alannah learned a bit about CPR in her Transition Year and gave the call-taker our Eircode."
“Within minutes, local Community First Responder Reece Cawley arrived at the house to help. He had been texted by the National Ambulance Service as he is a member of a new Community First Responder group in the area. Reece was attending a lifeboat station meeting as he is also a volunteer crew member with the nearby RNLI Station.
“He took the defibrillator off the wall when he got the text and was driven to our house a mile away by fellow RNLI Volunteer Daryl Ewing. They both applied the defibrillator which gave me a shock and my heart restarted. Soon afterwards the National Ambulance Service arrived.”
Molua was treated in Sligo University Hospital and later had two stents inserted in the Mater Hospital in Dublin as he had partial blockages in two arteries. He suffered his cardiac arrest last April.
“It’s important that as many people as possible are aware of CPR and know where defibrillators are located and how to use them. It should be like learning to ride a bike. CPR and a defibrillator saved my life. I would urge anyone to do a CPR course. They will tell you how to use a defibrillator and you could save someone’s life. I didn’t realise how important they are.”
The Community First Responders Group in Rosses Point was only active for 3 weeks when the incident happened.
In recent weeks Molua was delighted to be reunited with Reece, Daryl, the paramedics, and the ambulance dispatcher who were involved in his rescue: “I can’t thank them enough. I would definitely encourage people to start Community First Responder Groups where they are needed, especially in rural parts of the country. Time is of the essence when someone has a heart attack and CPR can keep you going until the ambulance crew get to you.”
Molua is back at work in the Atlantic Technological University, Sligo and is training on his bicycle and walking a couple of hours a day. Recently he spent time on holiday in Majorca with his family: “I am feeling good and just want to thank everyone for coming to my rescue.
Robert Morton, Director of the National Ambulance Service added that “out of hospital cardiac arrest survival is dependent on early recognition of the emergency, alerting the emergency medical services, good quality CPR and early defibrillation. As the actions of Alannah, Reece and Daryl demonstrate, Community First Responders can make all the difference when an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest occurs. Through their swift actions, Molua is here with us today and helped celebrate Restart a Heart Day.”
Find out more about Community First Responder groups in your area