Heart disease is still one of the biggest killers in Ireland and is responsible for almost one-third of all deaths in Mayo, according to the Irish Heart Foundation.
However, the number of lives lost to heart disease and stroke in Ireland has fallen dramatically over the last 25 years, from 16,000 deaths annually to 9,300.
The Irish Heart Foundation revealed the figures for the launch of the 25th annual Happy Hearts appeal, which will see volunteers across Mayo selling happy hearts to raise funds for the national heart and stroke charity.
The Happy Hearts Appeal is supported by SuperValu and aims to raise €500,000 to make adults and young people more CPR aware this autum and reduce the number of lives lost to sudden cardiac arrest.
Individuals and groups in Mayo are being asked to sign up this April to give an hour of their time to support Happy Hearts collections between May 15 and 17 or to organise their own Happy Hearts fundraiser.
Irish Heart Foundation’s regional fundraising manager for Mayo Toni Bourke said people who give just 60 minutes of their time to this year’s appeal give the gift of hope and extra heartbeats to hundreds and thousands of Irish families.
“Every year in Ireland, 5,000 families have to endure the sudden loss of a loved one to cardiac arrest when their hearts stop beating. More than 80 of these lives lost are young adults, teens, and babies,” she outlined.
“We need your help to sell happy hearts this May and raise €500,000 to deliver a national CPR campaign so more people know what to do when a person collapses suddenly with cardiac arrest. With your support, we can turn every volunteer gift of 60 minutes into extra heartbeats. Please answer our call and volunteer today.”
John Page, SuperValu, Castlebar, said they were “delighted” to support the event.
“ At SuperValu we believe in local. We care about the communities in which we operate, and our network of 223 stores at the heart of communities across Ireland will help to communicate the importance of this lifesaving appeal,” he added.
To join a Happy Heart team, register on www.happyhearts.ie or telephone Toni Bourke on 086-3806941. Contact the Irish Heart Foundation’s head office on (01 ) 6685001.