Ballymena BID gives heartfelt thanks for lifesaving equipment in town centre
Ballymena Business Improvement District (BID) has given huge thanks to a local shop owner, Sinead Connolly, who has donated a life-saving portable defibrillator to the town centre, following her own need for one a few years ago.
Ballymena BID maintains three further defibs in the town (at the Front Page, Wallace’s, Cameron’s) bringing the new addition to a total to four – which enormously helps the BID’s commitment to improving all aspects of life for people working, shopping and living in the town. There are a further 15 in the town, which is thought to be the most in any town in Northern Ireland.
Sinead, who owns Dunclug Spar, unexpectedly took ill in Ballymena town centre on October 28, 2020. She collapsed with Sudden Death Syndrome, a diagnosis that can often come all-too-late for those who are not near a defibrillator when their heart stops with no warning.
Thanks to the paramedics who arrived on the scene with a portable defibrillator, Sinead’s heart was able to be shocked twice, saving her life.
During her long road to recovery, Sinead reflected on her experience and was inspired to install an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) at her family’s popular shop, Connolly’s Spar & Off Sales, in case anyone else found themselves in the same terrifying situation.
The fundraising efforts included a 12-hour ‘spinathon’ by family and friends, where they raised over £7.5k, which was five times what they needed to buy one unit, so they ended up purchasing a total of five to be stationed around the town.
Chair of Ballymena BID Stephen Reynolds said:
“We are so very grateful to Sinead and her fundraising team for thinking of others during a personal crisis.
“Sinead and her husband our much-valued members of our local business community, and we are very grateful for this generous contribution.
“We also want to extend our thanks to Mid & East Antrim Borough Council for providing the casing and housing for the defibs. And to thank the Dept of Infrastructure for allowing BID to position the defib in the very central location in the town.
“Ballymena BID is committed to raising awareness of where all the defibs are located and to maintaining their up-keep, so they will be ready and close at hand should they be needed in an emergency. We have also committed to annual training for any staff member in the town who wishes to be trained in the use of this fantastic equipment.”
“We were overwhelmed with support from both the Ballymena BID and indeed the local community, and we are so delighted to see this defibrillator installed right in the centre of the town, outside the old Bank of Ireland building beside the Harmony Hub, close to where my own incident happened two years ago. The others are located at; SureStart Playgroup, Healthy Kidz in Portadown, All-Saints Youth Club, Geraldine Donnelly School of Irish Dancing the fifth is installed outside our store and all are available to the community 24/7.
“Working to make this happen has changed my outlook on the terrible incident that almost cost me my life. I can walk past these now with both pride and optimism, knowing that should anyone else suffer the same problem, help is literally at hand."
Ballymena BID is delighted with Sinead’s contribution to the health and safety of the town and proud of her courage and hard work to help other people. The organisation is keen to publicly thank her and to raise awareness of where all the defibrillators are located.
If you want to know where your closest defibrillator is located and if it is emergency ready, visit www.defibfinder.uk This is a national map of all registered defibs.