Ann Boland, centre, who presented the defibrillator to Castleconnell Boat Club
THIRTEEN years ago Ann Boland’s only child, David, aged 14, died following an asthma attack.
She has just presented her 13th defibrillator in his memory. Sadly there wasn’t a defibrillator when her son fell ill.
Ms Boland has made it her life’s work to fundraise for the life saving equipment. The latest recipient is Castleconnell Boat Club.
“I do it in memory of my son, David. He was our only child. He died in 2005 - it was heartbreaking.
“If they save one life it will be worth it. Every day is hard but you keep going. I know David will never be forgotten,” said Ms Boland, from St Mary’s Park. She runs karaokes, discos and bingo nights to raise the money for defibrillators and training of volunteers. And she has no plans to stop now.
“I’m nearly done raising the money for one for Abbey Rovers,” said Ann. She said the defibrillator for Castleconnell Boat Club was sponsored by a friend of hers, Ann Bowen.
“She wanted me to present it in memory of David. You couldn’t meet nicer than her,” said Ms Boland.
Ann Bowen said her son, Derek, is a coach in the boat club and four of her grandchildren - Aine, Aoife, Emily and Kieran - row there.
“I wanted Ann to present the defibrillator in memory of her son. I wanted my own grandchildren to benefit,” said Ms Bowen, who is fighting cancer for the last seven years.
“I have gone through an awful lot of cancer treatments. I wanted to pay back for the luck that I am still alive after this length of time and all this treatment I’ve been on.
I was bought a defibrillator for St Mary’s community hall about five years ago to pay something back. I always find that what goes around comes around and I am very thankful to be still alive seven years later,” said Ms Bowen.
On behalf of Castleconnell Boat Club and the local community, Pat Kiely, president, thanked these “two remarkable women” for their generosity. As a retired station officer with Limerick Fire Service he knows how important defibrillators are.
“I was in the fire service for 22 years. I know exactly what they can do. I’ve seen them save lives. They are absolutely fantastic,” said Mr Kiely.
The club has 120 members ranging in age from 11 to 80 year-olds. This is the club’s first defibrillator.
“It is a great addition. It is a comfort to have it and know that it is there. We have 11 people trained up on it,” said Mr Kiely.
And all in memory of the late David.