A 46-year-old father of three who had a heart attack while in the swimming pool at the University of Limerick has raised thousands of euro for defibrillators in garda patrol cars and CPR training for secondary school students in the area.
Barry Long was swimming in the deep end of the 50m pool when he had the heart attack and would have died but for the fast actions of the well-trained lifeguarding team and some bystanders with CPR.
“They were supported by the Garda - a trained first responder - and the Ambulance service and thanks to all involved that I am here to tell the tale. They allowed me to recover enough so the cardiac team in UHL could put three stents in my heart and I am now recovering very well. The Cardiac facilities in UHL are world class and we should be very proud the staff and the facilities,” said Barry. “My heart stopped six times in total and it was the determination of all involved that they were not prepared to let me go that I am here at home recovering with my three boys - Adam 12, Evan 10, and Hugo 6 - and my wife Sarah. I had just lost my mother Bernie to pancreatic cancer six weeks earlier so this could have been devastating had I not been lucky enough to have been so well cared for.”
Barry explained that he became aware that Paul and Niamh, the gardai involved, are part of a pilot scheme in which, as trained first responders, they react to text alerts for things like heart attacks, choking; etc within a 10km radius of Mayorstone Garda station in the north of Limerck city.
“However, they have only one AED in one patrol car and ideally could have one in each of the three in patrol cars that regularly patrol the city based out of various stations in Limerick,” he said. “I contacted the Anne Riordan the Regional Manager of the Irish Heart Foundation and found out they are about to kick off a fundraising drive to raise money to provide CPR training in all secondary schools around Limerick. “So, in conjunction with the Irish Heart Foundation, I launched a fundraising drive because if we raise the funds to increase the number of AEDs and people with CPR training in Limerick city, we can and will save lives and allow another mother or father like me to see their children grow up.”
Through his Just Giving page, Barry has already raised over €7,000 after an initial target of €6,000.
He and his family recently paid a visit to the paramedics who treated him to thank them for their lifesaving efforts.