Mid Ulster nurses recognised as Heart Heroes

Mid Ulster nurses Hilary Clarke and Denise Duggan picked up the top prize in their category at British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland’s (BHF NI) Heart Hero Awards.

Hilary and Denise won the Innovation category in the charity’s annual awards ceremony which recognise and celebrate the exceptional contribution of individuals and groups who are fighting for every heartbeat in Northern Ireland, such as heart patients who are campaigning for better services, fundraisers, partners, scientists and health professionals.

The two nurses won the award for their work on the pioneering Active Hearts project that is aimed at improving the quality of life for patients with heart failure in Mid Ulster.

The innovative intervention involved bringing together a heart failure nurse, a specialist physiotherapist and the cardiac rehabilitation staff. They provided a structured exercise-based programme tailored for heart failure patients who don’t normally get the opportunity to attend a cardiac rehabilitation programme.

Hilary and Denise were presented with their awards by BHF Chief Executive Simon Gillespie at a special ceremony in Belfast City Hall in front of more than 200 people.

Simon Gillespie said:

“Our annual Heart Hero Awards recognise and celebrate the exceptional contribution that our supporters make to our fight against heart disease. And we’re delighted to recognise Hilary and Denise for their inspiring project that is making a real difference to the lives of heart failure patients in Mid Ulster.

“These two dedicated nurses are working hard to give patients the best care and quality of life they can. It was a privilege to congratulate them both and thank them and all of our supporters who are helping to fight for every heartbeat in Northern Ireland.”

Shortlisted in Hilary and Denise’s category were Dr David Grieve, a BHF scientist at Queen’s University, Gildas Gordon a supporter of the BHF shop in Enniskillen and Louise Cardwell a BHF shop manager.

The event was addressed by former First Minister Peter Robinson who spoke about his heart attack last year and Sinn Fein MLA Cathal Boylan who had quadruple bypass surgery in July 2015. The two political figures talked about living with heart disease and the support and encouragement they’ve had from Northern Ireland’s dedicated cardiac care nurses and doctors.

The Heart Hero Awards have five award categories: Inspiration Award; Young Hero Award; Innovation Award; Influencing Award and Fighting Spirit Award. The winners were announced at BHF Northern Ireland’s Annual Supporter Conference in Belfast City Hall, a free event where the charity’s supporters found out about local heart research, heard an update from Chief Executive Simon Gillespie and met other volunteers, fundraisers, patients and health professionals.

To find out more about future upcoming conferences visit bhf.org.uk/conferences

25th May 2016

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