This Saturday will be an emotional day for local Fine Gael councillor John Dolan, who is set to speak about his near death experience at the annual Community First Responders (CFR ) conference in Mullingar.
A little more than nine months ago Cllr Dolan collapsed on his farm in Ballinahown, suffering a cardiac arrest. The quick thinking and actions of his family and the efforts of paramedics saved his life. He was transported to University Hospital Galway, where he spent a number of weeks in a coma.
Cllr Dolan has made a speedy recovery, returning to council duties towards the end of last year, but things could have been so different for the popular Athlone representative.
This weekend, Cllr Dolan’s family will tell the annual CFR conference their story, including how his son Cathal called 999, and how his other son Shane followed the CPR instructions from the operator at the end of the line. The two paramedics that attended the Dolan’s home will also speak, while there will be a video message played from John’s cardiologist.
Co-chairperson of the CFR, John Fitzpatrick, called Cllr Dolan with the idea to tell his story after seeing him appear on RTE’s Ear to the Ground.
“John’s survival story is not unique, but it does not happen often enough,” Mr Fitzpatrick said this week. “In 2016 we only had 184 people survive out of hospital cardiac arrests, which is a very small number. We have a lot of work to do to get people to call 999 and start CPR.
“First Responders are all volunteers. We are organised in about 170 odd communities at the moment around the country, amounting to around 3,000 volunteers. John’s story is what we are striving for every day. His family were absolutely amazing in what they did on the day, with no training whatsoever. The message we are trying to get out is that this is possible, and that the training makes it even more so.”
Cllr Dolan said it will be an emotional day for him, but is determined to give something back to those who helped to save his life.
“I survived an episode thanks to people like Community First Responders. I feel it is important for me to help support the great work they do, so that hopefully it can help to save someone else.”