“It was like watching Grey’s Anatomy where the doors swing open and the doctor comes out. I saw Dr Carton coming towards me with his head down and a nurse beside him and I thought ‘Oh God no, oh God, he’s gone’”.

Angeline Bradshaw’s husband Declan, from Newbridge, Co. Kildare, has been through much more than most. In January 2014, after contracting what was assumed to be just a severe case of the flu, Declan soon worsened and was admitted to intensive care, diagnosed with H1N1, also known as swine flu.

He was admitted to Naas General Hospital in late January 2014, and the medical team had him on an IV drip of antibiotics and for rehydration. When Declan didn’t respond to the treatment after two days, he was admitted to ICU and put on life support as his breathing had become very laboured.

“I was advised to fly my son home from New Zealand as Declan was deteriorating rapidly,” Angeline said.

Treatment in the Mater

After a short stay in St. James’ Hospital, Declan was transferred to the Mater Hospital to receive ECMO, a procedure where blood is removed from the body and re-oxygenated before being pumped back in. This way, Declan could receive artificial support to keep his heart and lungs operating, but there was no guarantee it would work.

“We met Dr Ed Carton, and he explained that Declan’s only hope of survival was ECMO. He and his team then proceeded to Declan’s room which now looked like a theatre.”

“His lungs had turned to cardboard,” said Angeline. “That was the longest hour and a half of my life. I saw Dr Carton coming towards me with his head down and a nurse beside him and I thought ‘Oh God no, oh God, he’s gone’. He was soaking to the skin with the pressure he was under but he said to me ‘We have Declan on ECMO, would you like to see him?’”

That was the first step in a long recovery that brought Declan back to full health, but the intervening time was a struggle, with Declan in a coma and no hint he was beating the devastating illness until he came off ECMO. If that wasn’t tough enough, Declan also had kidney failure, septicaemia, and contracted MRSA – a suite of illnesses that on their own would be a grave threat to a person’s life.

In complete isolation, Declan lost 4 stone but eventually came out of the coma five weeks after he was removed successfully from ECMO, and throughout those long weeks, Angeline and Stephen had incredible support from their family.

Recovery

“He had to learn how to walk again, eat again, and even to talk. That’s an awful lot of physio and at one point he threw in the towel. He was skin and bone but I had to encourage him, and he eventually listened and battled through it.”

“I remember it was 17 March, St. Patrick’s Day and I took him outside in the wheelchair and onto the North Circular Road. I was smiling and taking photos of him and sending them to family and friends, they didn’t know who this 70-year-old man was but to me he was looking fantastic. He said to me, ‘I’m walking off the ward Angeline, I am.’ And you know what; on 29 March he did, with the aid of a walking stick.” The photo above is Declan 1 year after ECMO.

Angeline’s incredible fundraising

Angeline couldn’t rest without doing something to support the Critical Care Unit in the Mater Hospital, and in particular, the work of Dr Carton and Serena O’Brien, the Head of Education. Considering she was a close friend and colleague of the late Joe Dolan, Angeline decided she would start a raffle for concert tickets for one of Ireland’s most famous country music stars, Nathan Carter.

Nathan has generously given 2 VIP Meet and Greet passes and 2 tickets to his New Year’s Show in the INEC Killarney, all to support patients and their families in the Mater who will face into a difficult Christmas period. The prize also include a 2-night stay in the 4* Arabutus Hotel in Killarney.

You can support patients just like Declan by entering the online draw where tickets are just €5, but you can purchase as many as you like. The draw closes at midnight on 11 December 2016 (draw now closed).

At the Mater Foundation, we want to thank Angeline and Declan for this amazing fundraising effort, as well as your contribution to improving patient care in the hospital!

On Friday 2 December, patients and staff at the Mater Hospital were treated to a visit by the All-Ireland GAA Football Champions Dublin, who came to the hospital with the Sam Maguire trophy and festive spirit in abundance!

Seven of the championship-winning team spent three hours greeting delighted patients and their families, as well as passers-by in the corridors, many of whom were taken by surprise to see the giant trophy and some of football’s biggest stars.

We can’t thank the Dublin team enough for their generosity of time and for creating such a buzz around the Mater! Have a look at some more photos below.



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The Mater Foundation has launched its 2017 selection of Christmas Cards, offering two sets of wonderful, festive designs – both modern and traditional – for you to send to friends and family this Christmas.

The modern-style cards are priced at €7 for a box of 12 cards, and the traditional cards are €10 for a box of 10.

All proceeds from the cards go towards improving care for patients in the Mater Hospital, so when you buy the cards and send your Christmas wishes, you’re at the same time making a wonderful contribution to supporting patients spending this Christmas in the hospital.

To purchase your set of Christmas Cards, download an order form from our website and return it via email to contact@materfoundation.ie or send it by post to: The Mater Foundation, 53-54 Eccles St., Dublin 7.

You can see the full set of designs on the Order Form, including both the modern-style and traditional cards.

Your support means so much this Christmas season, and the cards are sure to be a big hit to all you send them to.

Mater Foundation Autumn NewsletterThanks to the Mater Foundation’s amazing supporters, some very important projects focused on making patient care the best it can be were funded this year in the Mater Hospital – and you can read all about them in our Autumn ‘Heart of the Mater’ newsletter!

These incredible achievements would not have been possible without the immense generosity and spirit of everyone who fundraised through events in their community, responded to our appeal mails, became regular givers, and contributed in many other ways. All of these efforts have made a life-saving difference for so many patients.

Some of the highlights include:

The Cancer Day Unit: Now at the cutting-edge of patient care, the new Unit replaced an older, busy one in which patients would be often treated in cramped conditions. Our supporters helped to raise €625,000 to make sure it opened.

Supporting Family Heart Screening: Our supporters are making it possible for us to fund important genetic research into sudden deaths caused by undiagnosed heart conditions such as SADS, which takes life of one person under 35 each week in Ireland.

Heart and Lung Transplants: People just like 26-year-old Daragh Kenny – who had a double lung transplant – are being given their lives back because the Mater Foundation has been able to fund facilities and rehabilitation equipment, such as exercise bikes, through generous gifts from the public.

Take a moment to read more about these wonderful stories of support for the Mater Hospital in our Autumn Newsletter, and as always, we want to Thank You for your generosity, which makes a real and lasting difference.

If you’d like to help us continue this vital work, please consider donating today!


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and events and initiatives are taking place worldwide to draw attention to the disease and raise awareness of the importance of fundraising in the battle to beat it for good.

In recent years, the Mater Foundation’s supporters have made an immense difference in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, while also supporting research to help the 600-700 women diagnosed with breast cancer at the Mater Hospital every year. And with Irish women having a one-in-ten chance of developing malignant breast cancer before their 75th birthday, this work is more crucial than ever.

To mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’ve outlined three projects our supporters have helped to not only fund, but become a success and make a big difference in these women’s lives.

Lymphedema treatment in BreastHealth Mater

Lymphedema is a painful swelling of the lymphatic system that most commonly occurs after treatment for breast cancer. The swelling generally occurs in the arms and legs and can be very distressing for anyone trying to manage it.

Through the Mater Foundation, a lymphedema service was funded in BreastHealth Mater, and trained therapists form part of a multi-disciplinary team that assess the condition and promote self-management with a focus on always increasing quality of life. The foundation also funded an important awareness-raising event around lymphedema.

Breast Cancer Survivor AppBreast Cancer Survivor App

For women who are going through, or have already completed, treatment for breast cancer, a new app that provides advice and guidance in recovery was developed with support from the foundation.

Called ‘Breast Cancer Survivor App’, it provides information on simple steps patients can take to remain healthy and aid recovery. It includes information about diet, exercise and sleep and acts as an aid to healthier living.

“It shows the simple things you can do in your daily life that are going to improve or reduce your chance of having a problem in the future,” according to Prof Malcolm Kell, who was heavily involved in the app’s development.

Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day – BRA Day

The aim of BRA Day is to promote education, access and awareness to women considering post-mastectomy breast reconstruction.

At the Mater Hospital, a BRA Day information evening is organised and is a space for women to come together to learn more about breast reconstruction. The Show and Tell Lounge during the event is a private, women-only space for those who are thinking of reconstructive surgery. Here, they can see first-hand the results from women who have been through it. So too, plastic surgeons from the Mater Hospital present the process of breast reconstruction and answer questions.

This year, a BRA Day event will take place on 19 October from 7-9 pm in the Catherine McAuley Centre on Nelson St., Dublin 7 and you can register for your free ticket on the event’s Eventbrite page or call (01) 8303482.

Your support is crucial

As always, such wonderful services such as those listed above could not be achieved without the generosity of our supporters. You can donate towards the future of breast cancer research and care and be a real part of improving breast cancer patient’s lives at the Mater Hospital.

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Mater Foundation Autumn NewsletterThanks to the Mater Foundation’s amazing supporters, some very important projects focused on making patient care the best it can be were funded this year in the Mater Hospital – and you can read all about them in our Autumn ‘Heart of the Mater’ newsletter!

These incredible achievements would not have been possible without the immense generosity and spirit of everyone who fundraised through events in their community, responded to our appeal mails, became regular givers, and contributed in many other ways. All of these efforts have made a life-saving difference for so many patients.

Some of the highlights include:

The Cancer Day Unit: Now at the cutting-edge of patient care, the new Unit replaced an older, busy one in which patients would be often treated in cramped conditions. Our supporters helped to raise €625,000 to make sure it opened.

Supporting Family Heart Screening: Our supporters are making it possible for us to fund important genetic research into sudden deaths caused by undiagnosed heart conditions such as SADS, which takes life of one person under 35 each week in Ireland.

Heart and Lung Transplants: People just like 26-year-old Daragh Kenny – who had a double lung transplant – are being given their lives back because the Mater Foundation has been able to fund facilities and rehabilitation equipment, such as exercise bikes, through generous gifts from the public.

Take a moment to read more about these wonderful stories of support for the Mater Hospital in our Autumn Newsletter, and as always, we want to Thank You for your generosity, which makes a real and lasting difference.

If you’d like to help us continue this vital work, please consider donating today!


“I turned 30 last year and on my birthday my friends and I started talking about bucket lists. I always wanted to train for a marathon and let it slip. They wouldn’t let me ‘not do it’ after that so that’s how I’m a month away from the Dublin Marathon and supporting the Mater Foundation.”

With just one month to go before the starting gun is fired, Ciara O’Leary – daughter of Irish football legend David O’Leary – is as excited as ever about running the marathon.

Now in its 37th year, 19,500 people from Ireland and abroad will take to the streets of the capital on 30 October, for what is Europe’s fourth-largest marathon.

“It was a little intimidating, but I wanted a challenge. And I wanted to raise money for a cause close to our family, which the Mater Hospital is. My granddad Christy had two heart attacks and received the best treatment while he was there in 1999.”

Training isn’t easy but Ciara has settled into a routine that is helping her to get over the line. “I’m trying to fit in three to four runs per week and increasing the long one by 10% each week if I can. But sometimes I do spinning and very quick sessions of exercise to change it up.”

Ciara and granddad Christy

Working in the beauty industry, Ciara’s work is quite flexible so she has the advantage of training around it. Getting up early in the mornings and training sets her up for the day and moves her closer to the target of 22 miles – the magic number she wants to hit at least a few times before getting to the start line.

“For me I want to enjoy every minute of it, so obviously training hard means I can make the best shot of it. But I’m also doing this for a great cause and that motivates me.”

When Ciara told her granddad and grandmother about running for the Mater Foundation, they were a quite emotional. “My nana started balling her eyes out when I said I was doing it for the Mater and my granddad had to leave the room to compose himself – he was just so happy.”

“I remember Dad flying back from Leeds, who he was managing at the time. Granddad was very sick but we knew Hugh McCann and the team in the Mater were giving him the care he needed even though it was touch and go for a while. Hugh is a family friend now and my grandparents see him as another son!”

After a siginifcant period of care in the Mater and recuperation at home, Christy eventually returned to health with the help of a pacemaker fitted in the hospital, and now Ciara tries to see her grandparents at least four times per year – even though she lives in England.

Ciara and parents

Although it took coaxing from friends and family after revealing her bucket list idea of running a marathon, Ciara would recommend it to anyone. “I didn’t think 10 years ago I’d be as fit as I am and run a marathon but hard work and determination is the key. To anyone thinking of doing it I would say just go for it, anything is possible.”

Making the entire occasion even more special is the fact that Dublin Marathon week also marks her grandmother Maragaret’s 80th birthday and the entire family will be there for the celebration. “I’m looking forward to seeing them all at the finish and I’ve a feeling I’m going to be quite emotional. It’s going to mean so much to complete it, for me and for them.”

We wish you all the very best Ciara and are so grateful for your support!

Ciara is pictured training (top image), with her granddad Christy (middle image) and with her Mum, Joy, and Dad, David (bottom image).

Maureen Kelly lost her 21-year-old son Darragh to an inherited heart problem. It was only thanks to cardiac screening that the life of her daughter could be saved from a hidden heart condition. This is Maureen’s story.

Maureen has a family like any other, like yours perhaps. She was blessed with a son and three daughters – happy and healthy, or so she thought.

Darragh Close-Up

Her son, Darragh, was sports-mad. He was young and fit. He’d just started college in Dundalk, so he was living away from home, but they spoke a lot. The family was very proud of him.

Like many young lads he’d call his mam when he got sick. It wasn’t much – a temperature, not feeling well – but it meant he’d phoned a couple of times that day. Maureen felt he just wanted to hear her voice.

At 8 o’clock that evening, Maureen and Darragh talked and he said he was feeling a lot better. But an hour later she received a call from a nurse in A&E telling her to come at once with her family. Darragh had been taken unwell.

“We’re treating him for cardiac arrest,” the nurse told Maureen.

They rushed to the hospital only to find it was too late. Darragh had passed away. He was 21, young and fit.

Maureen’s heart was broken, but what she didn’t know was that Darragh’s heart was broken too – in a different way.

Cardiac screening, including an ECG – an electrocardiogram – could have saved Darragh’s life. An ECG costs just €45, and it could have shown that Darragh had an inherited heart condition, and therefore have had treatment for it.

It must have been only a half an hour after Maureen spoke with Darragh that one of his housemates went to his room to see if he wanted any washing done. She found him collapsed on the floor and called the hospital straight away, but there was nothing that could be done for him.

FHSC

Unfortunately one person under 35 like Darragh is taken from us every week from an inherited heart condition such as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome – more commonly known as SADS. The heart is a pump and there’s a flow of electricity your body produces to keep it working. In SADS, the electrical flow is interrupted, the heart stops, and within minutes the person you love is gone.

Maureen thought that maybe her three precious daughters had that hidden heart condition too? She wondered if they could be taken as suddenly.

Maureen was shocked to discover that at the time there was no place in Ireland where she could get her family screened. They had an agonising wait and even had to go to London for it to take place. Her youngest daughter, Eleanor, was preparing for her exams so couldn’t go for screening.

Funded by the Mater Foundation, the Family Heart Screening Clinic is where families at risk of SADS can come for screening and support together. It receives limited government financial support, so the majority of funds come from people who want to save a family from the loss, pain and trauma that Maureen’s family suffered.

An ECG showed Eleanor had a genetic disorder called Long QT Syndrome; in short, her heart could stop at any time, like Darragh’s did. They never knew Darragh was in danger, but Eleanor’s condition was now out in the open and could be treated.

30% of families tested at the Family Heart Screening Clinic have an inherited heart condition.

Dr Joe Galvin, who set up the Family Heart Screening Clinic, told Maureen and her family that Eleanor needed to go on beta-blockers and have an implantable defibrillator that would restart her heart if, like Darragh’s, it ever stopped without warning. Just a few months later, that’s exactly what happened.

Darragh with sister, Eleanor

If it hadn’t been for the ECG and the other testing carried out, Eleanor would not be here.

Eleanor’s heart has stopped four times since she’s had the implanted defibrillator. It has given her a shock that’s restarted her heart and she has regular check-ups at the Mater Hospital.

Eleanor now lives a very normal life and has a normal life expectancy, but is only here today thanks to those generously supporting the clinic, and its life-saving work.

A gift of €45 today could help pay for cardiac screening, including an ECG that could uncover a hidden killer – and save a life. You can support this by donating to the Mater Foundation Heart Appeal here.


It’s just over half way through the year and for us at the Mater Foundation it is an important time to reflect upon everything our incredible supporters have made possible in the Mater Hospital.

The commitment, donations, time, energy and words of encouragement make an immense difference to patients in the Mater. So far this year, it has helped us to invest in the Cancer Clinical Trials Unit, purchase eight exercise bikes to aid recovery of post-op heart and lung transplant patients, and contribute to renovating family rooms that provide quiet, private spaces close to busy wards.

These are just a few of the ways in which donations have made the lives of the Mater’s patients more comfortable in often very tough situations for them and their families.

Last week we shared the inspirational story of Karrie Hogan, a staff member at the Mater Hospital who 11 years ago was diagnosed with breast cancer. Karrie came through treatment successfully, but after a recent experience supporting her father in the Mater, she set about organising some wonderful fundraisers to give back to the hospital. This is just one of many stories we are privileged to be a part of and they always remind of us of what your support means for better patient care.

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Each time you give to the Mater Foundation, you place great trust in us to improve hospital facilities and invest in the areas most in need. The patient always has, and always will be the centre of our focus, but it’s you that makes this possible.

In September our 2015 financial statements and annual report will be posted on our website after approval at our AGM. These will sit alongside our donor charter, which is online and assures donors and potential donors of our commitment to honesty, openness and transparency. These values are so important to us and guide all of our work.

As July is nearly over, we just wanted to say Thank You once again for everything this year and we look forward to updating on how you continue to improve the care of patients in the Mater.

“I wanted to show that there’s a life after cancer,” says Karrie. “I was 34 when I found out I had breast cancer and just four years before that my mother had passed away with the same disease.”

That was 2005 – 11 years ago – and since then Karrie (pictured right with her father and sister) has sought to experience every last ounce of life. Indeed, her experience with cancer inspired her to work in that very field, so after successful chemotherapy and radiation treatment she transferred into cancer data management at the Mater Hospital – where she was already working – seeking to give something back to it.

“People do survive cancer and for me I wanted life to go on as normal,” she says. “I had surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and hormone therapy for years, but now I just have to see the consultant once per year for a check-up.”

Karrie’s father had also been a frequent visitor to the Mater and in 2014 he had surgery to remove a part of his right colon. It was at this point that Karrie decided she wanted to fundraise towards patient care.

“It was quite tough for Dad. He can be a bit stubborn sometimes and wouldn’t ask for help getting in and out of bed because he didn’t want to put the nurses out. But I realised that an electric bed would have helped immensely, because he could control his back support independently and move in and out as he wanted. It’s important for patients to feel independent during their stay, especially for those that usually live that way.”

Since then, Karrie and her family have been on an amazing fundraising journey for the Mater, with the goal of investing in electric beds at the forefront of it. They walked 141 km from Marlay Park in Dublin to Clonegal in Carlow along the popular Wicklow Way hiking route. They also organised bag packing in Dunnes Stores and SuperValu, hosted cake sales, cycled 100 km from Ballsbridge to Trim, County Meath and back to Dublin Zoo, and even ran the Galway Bay half-marathon.
Karrie with artwork

“We completed the half-marathon on 3 October 2015, exactly 10 years to the day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a pretty special moment.”

In total, Karrie raised almost €13,000 for the Mater Foundation to support patient care in the hospital, with a spirit and energy that typifies those that have experienced the incredible work of the Mater and are looking for a way to support it. Not only did her efforts result in four new electric beds for Sacred Heart and St. Monica’s wards, but seven artware pieces (one pictured left) were also donated to the Oncology and Haematology waiting area.

“When people undergo such intense treatment, it’s just right that they have something positive and bright to look at. As you exit the day ward there, there’s a beautiful ceramic piece of colourful hot air balloons taking off with ‘Life is an Adventure’ written on. That’s a nice message to receive upon leaving and I should know.”

Tom Hickey, Head of Fundraising and Communications with the Mater Foundation said, “Karrie’s fundraising was absolutely wonderful and she has drawn on her own experience to really push for better patient care in the hospital. The outcome of all those hours walking, hiking, running, cycling and doing other community events are a more comfortable experience for patients who are in the greatest need of it. We can’t thank her enough.”

For Karrie, her job in cancer data management keeps her close to developments in the hospital and she is an integral part of the Mater family.

“The Mater does excellent work, always striving towards better care. Everyone is a part of a team, from data manager to the surgeon and aftercare – they all just want to improve patient care. I’m just so happy to have supported it in my own way.”

Karrie would like to thank her Dad, Katrina, Colleen, Ken, Denise, Stephen, and family and friends, Bank of Ireland staff, Dunnes Stores Ballyogen, SuperValu Dalkey, FIFA, Fitzpatrick’s Castle Hotel Killiney, Lavender Fields, Rebeka Kahn, Moya O’Donoghue, Martin Conway, Linda Conway (RIP), the Cancer Data Management Team, Alison Green, the Mater staff and patients, and Simba.