A coffee morning in aid of Croí taking place in Blake’s Bar next week will feature a chance to sample Kopi Luwak coffee, considered the most expensive, and most unusual, coffee in the world.
Blake’s Bar, situated on Eglinton Street, is holding the fundraising event to help two Galway men show their appreciation for Croí, the west of Ireland cardiology foundation, for the support the organisation gave them when they underwent heart surgery.
Ulick O’Halloran, who works at Blake’s, found he had a leaking heart valve when a family member’s sudden illness prompted him to have a thorough physical. He and RTE sports presenter Michael Lyster plan to hold the coffee morning to say ‘thank you’ to Croí for supporting both men through their life-changing health problems.
Barna native Mr O’Halloran found himself facing reparative surgery after he was found to have a faulty valve. “The prognosis was difficult to comprehend as there were literally no obvious symptoms,” he recalled. “I just went to the doctor as a precaution.”
While in hospital he underwent the most advanced surgery available under the expert eye of Dr David Verasingham in University Hospital Galway. “The fact is this man had my heart out of my chest for over two hours while he tried to save the life of a total stranger, we are so proud of him and his team,” Mr O’Halloran said. “In fact the efforts of the surgical team cannot go unmentioned, Dr Nash who originally diagnosed the issue, the nursing staff in the cardiothoracic unit of UHG, and the back-up support from Croí, who when the chips are down get you bouncing back, is nothing short of heroic.”
While this operation was a success, Mr O’Halloran suffered a stroke while in recovery. However thanks to the expertise of the cardiothoracic team he has recovered with no lasting side effects.
Michael Lyster’s story is equally dramatic. “I was just feeling off form for a while, thinking things would pass off naturally,” he recalled. “How wrong I was.” When he did eventually go for a check-up, Mr Lister was told that his heart was only functioning at 15 per cent of its capacity and he faced the possibility of a transplant, though this thankfully did not come to pass.
Both men are now in good health and have joined forces to make people more heart aware. They want to say a sincere ‘thank you’ to the cardiothoracic teams and Croí for the exceptional care they received. They are also encouraging others to get checked out regardless of whether they feel unwell, as early detection and treatment is key to recovery.
Blake’s Bar will host the coffee morning on Friday July 12 from 10am to 12 noon, where people can look forward to tasting Kopi Luwak coffee, the Indonesian delicacy sometimes referred to as civet coffee, after the animal which ferments the beans in its digestive tract. The tasting will be hosted by Galway Bay Coffee. Croí representatives will also be there, providing information on heart health.