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Giving back to the clinic that saved me

My name is Edel Higgins, and I have recently moved back to Tallaght after living away from home for the past few years.

I work in Tallaght Hospital as a health care attendant on Franks Ward, a very busy trauma orthopaedic ward.

I love my job, every day is different and challenging. I hope to study nursing this September.

I enjoy being active in my spare time and I have set myself the challenge of running the Flora Women's Mini Marathon this year, faster than last year, hopefully.

I have decided to run for the falls and blackouts clinic in St James's Hospital.

Last June I experienced recurrent collapses resulting in hospitalisation.



For several months this continued to happen and with no answers as to why, I was referred to the clinic in St James's.

They specialise in symptoms related to what I had experienced and I was finally diagnosed with vasovagal syncope.

Vasovagal syncope occurs in response to a trigger, with a corresponding malfunction in the parts of the nervous system that regulate heart rate and blood pressure.

When heart rate slows, blood pressure drops and the resulting lack of blood to the brain causes fainting and confusion.

With the right treatment, they reduced my collapsing and now I know how to deal with it better.

It is the only clinic of its kind in Ireland and is vital to the Irish health service in treating patients with similar complaints. The funds I will raise from doing the Flora Women's Mini Marathon will be very much needed in this clinic.

I have done the Flora Women's Mini Marathon twice before.

What I enjoy about it is the fact that it is women gathering to do something good for great causes, combined with the great atmosphere on the day.

I have always been quite an athletic person, but, with recent events, I wasn't able to do as much exercise as I would have liked.

Since the New Year, I have had a goal to get fit and with the help of a brilliant personal trainer, I have reached my goal and am fitter than I have ever been.

My training for the Flora Women's Mini Marathon has been going well. It mainly involves training by myself which, as always, was difficult at first. However, once I got into it, I found myself quickly progressing.



Positive thinking and not letting the slumps in my health get the better of me were challenges. Having a healthy diet also helps.

My four friends Sarah, Elaine, Linda and Denise are joining me for the Flora Women's Mini Marathon this year.

We're all looking forward to a fun-filled day, and hard work, of course.