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Seaghan's Story

Seaghan Kearney is a 30 year old secondary school teacher of Maths and Irish in St Dominic’s College in Cabra. He is from the Navan Road in Dublin and is engaged to a lovely girl called Mary Lynch from Cabra. Seaghan is a happy-go-lucky guy, into his GAA and last October was checking out potential wedding venues with his fiancé one Sunday afternoon.

The very next day, while playing a regular five-a-side indoor football session with his friends in St Oliver Plunketts GAA Club in Dublin, Seaghan suffered a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, hit the floor and banged his head...

Experts say that Seaghan’s friends had only a matter of minutes to save his life by getting a defibrillator to him. Luckily, they were quick to react and called on a guy called Terry O’Brien who was another member of the club and was doing a volunteer stint behind the bar at the time. Terry is a fireman with Dublin Fire brigade and took control of the situation, putting Seaghan in the recovery position and sent a teammate to get the defibrillator urgently.

This defibrillator, now recognised as an essential piece of equipment in any sports or leisure club, was generously donated to the club by a local pharmacist resulting from the GAA’s awareness campaign following the tragic death of Cormac McAnallen in 2004. However, the club had never serviced it since and the batteries were out of date. There was enough power left for two shocks, which thankfully revived Seaghan and kept him alive until the ambulance arrived.

Seaghan was admitted to hospital and the doctors implanted an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defribillator) under his arm which will re start his heart should he have another cardiac arrest. Seaghan’s family have since all been screened in the Mater Hospital’s Family Heart Screening Clinic, which is recommended if a family member has an unexplained sudden death or is a cardiac arrest victim.

Seaghan is now working in conjunction with The Mater Heart Appeal to highlight the important of early defibrillation and family screening. Many clubs and facilities have defibrillators, however in most cases they are locked in offices, poorly maintained and nobody knows how to use them.

Seaghan and his friends have worked with The Mater Foundation to come up with a powerful acronym for this year’s Mater Heart Appeal campaign; ‘ACT’,which is aimed at creating awareness about the importance of having a defibrillator in all Health/Sports clubs, companies and organisations throughout Ireland. Representing three simple steps which could easily save someone’s life, the campaign calls for clubs with defibrillators to ‘A’, ensure that the defibrillator is Accessible, ‘C’ make sure it is Charged and ‘T’ that people are Trained how to use it.

A Mater ACT Pack will be available to order online from Friday 4th February or by calling a designated hotline, helping people nationwide to get the facts and spread awareness about this important issue. Donations to the Mater Foundation to support the Mater’s Family Heart Screening Clinic will also be greatly appreciated.

In addition, the events which unfolded as Seaghan suffered his Sudden Cardiac Arrest were all caught on CCTV cameras in the football club, which Seaghan and his friends are now incorporating into a reconstruction film, with Seaghan telling his story. They plan to release this through You Tube and Facebook to help highlight this important awareness campaign.