skip to main content

Help us keep caring through COVID

Make a donation
Dr Su edited

Research saves lives. Lives like mine.

Billy Doherty

My name is Billy Doherty and I’m the drummer with local rock band The Undertones. At the end of 2017 we’d just played a gig in Dublin when I felt a pain in my arm and could feel a sore throat coming on. I assumed I was getting a cold and that the painful arm was caused by hours of drumming. I was wrong.

Within a couple of days, I was in hospital, where an ECG and blood tests showed I was about to have a major heart attack. I was taken to theatre and operated on, and I had two stents inserted into my coronary arteries. But that wasn’t all. Unfortunately, just a week later I suffered a stroke. Physically, I have made an excellent recovery. But the emotional shock has been tremendous, and harder to cope with. To be honest, it floored me.

If it hadn’t been for the pioneering work of doctors who developed the first stents in the 1980’s, my story could have turned out very differently. This is why I am supporting Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke.

I’m looking forward to seeing the results of Dr Qiaozhu Su’s research at Queen’s University, which could produce a simple and cost-effective way of combating heart disease using a common cooking spice. Likewise, Dr Chris Watson, also at Queen’s, aims to develop a blood test that would provide an early warning of the condition. You can read more about their research below.

When, like me, you’ve had a close brush with death, you realise how important it is that people like you are willing to help Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke fund the next generation of heart research – research that will save a life like mine in the future.

I wanted to share my story in the hope that it will encourage people to donate towards these vital studies in our local hospitals and universities.

Please do what you can to support them.

£20 – will pay for one hour of a researcher’s time to work on a heart project that can save thousands of lives in the future

£35 - will help cover the cost of fenugreek seeds (or placebo) for one person in the research trial

£50 - will help pay towards clinical equipment costs to monitor heart health

Find out more about the next generation of Heart Research...

Dr Su

I’m Dr Qiaozhu Su and I want to tell you about the ground-breaking research I am leading at Queen’s University Belfast.

High levels of certain fats in the blood can put you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, which is the second leading cause of death in the UK.

The usual treatment for abnormally high levels is statins, which lower cholesterol and protect the blood vessels from fatty build-ups that could cause a blockage. But, like many medications, statins can sometimes have side-effects.

So, I and my Queen’s University colleagues Prof Jayne Woodside and Dr Chris Cardwell are investigating whether adding a common cooking spice, fenugreek, to people’s diets could reduce blood fats and therefore save lives – without the side-effects. If we can develop a treatment as a result, it could reduce the huge cost on the NHS in treating cardiovascular disease.

Fenugreek seed is used in many parts of the world, including India, North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. There is evidence to suggest that it can lower blood sugar, but we want to find out if it can suppress the production of unhealthy fats in the liver which is how statins work.

We are recruiting 132 patients with hyperlipidaemia (the medical name for abnormally raised levels of blood fats) but without diabetes. They will be asked to incorporate fenugreek seed into their diets for eight weeks. It is the first research of its kind in Northern Ireland.

Our two-year study will cost more than £98,000 – but that’s tiny compared with the potential benefits. With your help we can succeed.

It has been reported that hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease in the UK alone increased by 46,000 over the course of just three years. By any measure, that is a heavy burden for a health service to sustain.

Imagine if future generations in Northern Ireland could avoid the trauma of cardiovascular disease with a simple addition to the diet. In addition, the benefits of expanding such treatment globally would be immense.

Thank you for supporting high quality research in Northern Ireland.

Chris watson

I’m Dr Chris Watson from Queen’s University Belfast and I’m investigating whether a simple blood test for people with Ischaemic Heart Disease (disease caused by narrowed arteries) could give us an early warning of future heart problems.

I don’t want to be too technical, but we have discovered that a protein called CLEC3B is associated with changes in the health of the heart and how well it pumps blood around the body. The problem is, we don’t know if this protein protects the heart or causes disease.

Either way, identifying it in the blood and measuring it could be a valuable new tool in combating heart disease and in monitoring heart health.

Coronary heart disease is the most common cause of heart attack and is one of Northern Ireland’s biggest killers. For survivors, it can have a huge impact on the quality of life. So, identifying it at an early stage is crucial.

During this project I’ll be working with colleagues from Belfast, Dublin and the US, Prof David Grieve, Prof Mark Harbinson, Prof Ken McDonald, Prof Mark Ledwidge and Prof Patrick Collier. All are experts in their field.

This research will cost nearly £77,000 over two years, so we’re grateful for your support in helping us to complete it.

In Northern Ireland, we all know at least one person who suffers from or has died from ischaemic heart disease and this is why research like mine is so important. We want to find out if the CLEC3B protein has potentially therapeutic properties and could be used in the development of new blood tests, to diagnose and monitor patients.

By supporting high quality studies like ours, you’ll be contributing towards an innovative test that will potentially identify thousands of people at risk and save lives.

Thank you for helping Northern Ireland to take its place at the forefront of world-leading research.

  • At least 80p in every £1 raised or donated is spent delivering our life-changing care and prevention services, as well as funding local research into these illnesses.

    How does NICHS spend donations?

    Thanks to our loyal supporters we raised more than £3.35 Million last year to support our programmes across Northern Ireland.

    £1.39 Million was spent on delivering our care support programmes, £576k was spent on delivering our prevention programmes and £736k on local research into chest, heart and stroke related conditions.

    In other words, for every £1 raised, around 80p, went directly to funding our care and prevention programmes as well as research to help fight chest, heart and stroke conditions.

    How you can help

    Over 335,000 people in Northern Ireland are living with chest, heart and stroke conditions, and these illnesses are responsible for 37% of all adult deaths every year. That's almost 6,000 people. Every day across Northern Ireland 11 people will suffer a stroke and 17 will have a heart attack.

    With your support we are able to continue our vital care and prevention work across the community, caring for people who are living with chest, heart and stroke conditions and helping prevent people becoming ill in the first place.

    Support us today and help us lead the fight against chest, heart and stroke illnesses across Northern Ireland.


  • What is Gift Aid?

    Gift Aid is a scheme that allows charities to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, which means your donations will be worth 25% more to us at no extra cost to you. If you Gift Aid your donations we can claim back from the government 25p for every £1 you donate to Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke.

    This additional income really does make a big difference, so please don't forget to Gift Aid donations if you are a UK tax payer.

    You could make your donation to us NICHS worth even more!

    Whether you are making a cash donation, setting up a regular gift, or asking friends and family to sponsor you in an event, your donation could be worth an extra 25% thanks to the Gift Aid donations scheme. Last year, we were able to reclaim over £74,000 through donations that were gift aided which contributed towards our care and prevention programmes.

    Gift Aid Calculator

    How it works:

    Under the Gift Aid scheme, if you are a UK taxpayer, the Government allows charities to reclaim 25p of every pound you give – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny! With your permission NICHS can re-claim this tax on your behalf.

    Once you’ve read the Gift Aid statement and are happy you can comply with it, simply tick the Gift Aid box to say you agree that NICHS can reclaim tax for you. If you’d prefer to complete a paper version of our Gift Aid Declaration form and post it into our office, you can download a pdf version by clicking on the button below.

    If you’d like to find out how much more your donation would be if it was Gift Aided, just use the calculator below.

    Click here to download a Gift Aid Declaration

    What we need to claim Gift Aid

    • Your full name and home address
    • The donation amount you are giving. We can accept cash also.
    • We can't claim Gift Aid on donations from company accounts. The donation must be your own money and not the proceeds of a collection.
    • For you to confirm that you pay income tax or capital gains tax which at least equals the amount NICHS and other charities and community amateur sports clubs will claim in the appropriate tax year (6 April one year to 5 April the next). This is currently 25p for every £1 you give.
    • Using the declaration form, we can claim Gift Aid on all your donations in the last 4 years and all future donations.
    • Once you have become a Gift Aid donor, please let us know if you stop paying tax or if you change your name/address so that we can update our records.
  • If you would like any further help, or have any questions, please contact Supporter Care on 028 9026 6743 or

  • The work that we do is only possible because of the generous donations that we receive from our supporters. You are very important to us. Thank you so much for helping us in the care and prevention of chest, heart and stroke illnesses across Northern Ireland.

    When you make a donation to Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, we promise that :

    • Your donation will be used wisely, responsibly and for the purpose given.
    • If a donation is made for a specific purpose we will honour that request.
    • We will safeguard your personal information in line with Data Protection principles.
    • We will communicate with you in accordance with your wishes.
    • Queries or complaints will be responded to as quickly as possible.
    • Administration costs will be kept to a minimum.
    • Your support will be acknowledged and we will keep you updated about how you are helping people who suffer from chest, heart or stroke illnesses.
    • Fundraisers will respect you as a donor and will be transparent in their dealings with you at all times.
    • Fundraisers will work to the highest professional standards and will adhere to the practices and guidelines as directed by the Institute of Fundraising.
    • Where donations are solicited indirectly, i.e. by 3rd party agencies, we recognise that donors have the right to request information about them.

    If you have any questions, please contact Supporter Care on 028 9026 6743 or

This site uses cookies. Some of them are essential while others help us improve your browsing experience. To learn more about cookies, including how to disable them, view our Cookie Policy. By clicking "I Accept" on this banner you consent to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now