Sunday 31 August 2014

'We would be lost without them'

Paul Deering

Published 10/06/2014 | 05:40

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Joe Waters, RTE’s Francis Brennan, Benny the Bull, Helen Johnson, Abigail and Jenny Higgins making an appeal for text donations in aid of cardiac services at Sligo Regional Hospital.

Benny the Bull knows all too well about the services of the cardiac unit at Sligo Regional Hospital.

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He's been a regular user of the services for the past four years.

Marty Probst, a well known local dj, took over the role of Benny at The Showgrounds this season. It was while training for the Dublin City Marathon four years ago that he began to notice something not quite right.

"I was training away but I was beginning to feel dizzy and faint at times.

"I put it down to doing too much and the fact I was training with my son and was pushing it too hard.

"However, it was when I slipped off the chair at home while watching television that I really took notice and decided to have myself checked out."

After various hospital checks it was discovered he not only had a blockage but also an erratic heart beat.

A stint was put in to cure the blockage but the irregular heart beat is an ongoing situation for control.

Marty said: "Basically, with this condition my heart could go from 70 beats per minute up to 200 without even realising it.

"To put it simply it's to do with the electrical wiring of the heart. It's like someone doing some sprints and their heart rate increases to 180.

"When they stop and breath regularly again the heart goes back to normal but in my case it can stay running fast. I had no control over it until it literally switches itself off and it was ongoing for two years.

"I'm now on medication that keeps my heartbeat at a steady 60 beats per minute.

"I've also to take cholesterol medicine and I'm on warfarin to thin the blood.

"Having heart trouble came as a surprise because I had always kept myself fairly fit.

"My diet wasn't too bad, I was never one for eating chips so my problems were put down as hereditary.

"I'm 58 now and things are okay.

"It can be quite annoying though being on so much medication as often I don't feel that well.

"I have to say those working in the cardiac services at Sligo Regional have been great.

"We would be lost without them and I was only too glad to help out with the fundraising effort.

"They work around the clock up and the amount of people being assisted is huge."

Marty says he initially intended volunteering as a steward at The Showgrounds.

"My grandson is involved in a lot of the soccer camps and often goes to the games.

"I was there when Benny the Bull was mentioned and I decided to give it a go for a bit of craic.

"I really enjoy doing it and the kids love him," he said.

Sligo Champion

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