Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke

News

07 October 2015

NEW CHARITY CHIEF’S WHEELY HEALTHY PLAN TO MEET STAFF

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A newly appointed charity chief is to visit its staff, volunteers and service users around Northern Ireland – using only pedal power!

Declan Cunnane, who became Chief Executive of NI Chest Heart & Stroke at the end of September, expects to cover 300 kilometres by bike over the course of a week in what’s been dubbed by colleagues as Declan’s B–Spoke Tour.

He said: NICHS has 57 support services helping over 500 people every week– so what better way for me to fully appreciate the value of what the charity does, keep up my fitness levels and raise vital funds at the same time?  The 300k cycle will also be a great opportunity to engage with the people involved in our research, those who support our campaigns, fundraisers and local businesses.”

Belfast company Wee Toast Tours joined Declan and staff from Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke to help him in his training. Ron Kenna, owner of the company, said: “Wee Toast Tours was happy to lend Declan our cycle to help him train – as a company based in the heart of Belfast we like to support local charities in any way we can.”

Keen cyclist Declan will be using a more conventional bike to travel around Northern Ireland.

The trip starts on Monday 12th October in Belfast, where he will be visiting NICHS’s Respiratory Support Group at the City Hospital. This group has 15 weekly members including Paddy Lynas from west Belfast who hit his lowest point after being diagnosed with the lung disease COPD and being affected by the deaths of close family members. His life has been transformed by regular walking after being encouraged by the group to take it up.

After Belfast, Declan will head north to Antrim and Coleraine, continue his journey to Limavady, L’Derry, Omagh, Craigavon, Lisburn and Bessbrook before his return to head office.

You can follow Declan’s progress onwww.facebook.com/Belfast.NICHS and make a donation at www.justgiving.com/Declan–Cunnane.

On taking over as Chief Executive he said: “There are 206,000 people in Northern Ireland living with a chest, heart or stroke condition and these illnesses cause a staggering 40% of adult deaths – almost one in two.  Yet our research shows that unfortunately the Northern Ireland public underestimate the prevalence of chest, heart and stroke illness and in many instances are not aware of symptoms.  In taking on the role of Chief Executive, I want to make it my mission to increase people’s awareness, work together to save lives and continue to support those affected.  As the new Chief Executive, that is my challenge.”

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