Ballyclare woman with heart failure raises money for research

Tara Loughlin from Ballyclare organised Tara's Trek around Carlingford in February to raise money for research into conditions such a heart failure.
Tara Loughlin from Ballyclare organised Tara's Trek around Carlingford in February to raise money for research into conditions such a heart failure.

A Ballyclare woman living with heart failure at the age of just 42 has raised more than £2,000 to support heart research.

Tara Loughlin organised ‘Tara’s Trek’ around Carlingford on February 24 to raise money for British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) research into conditions such a heart failure. The local woman’s friends and family took part in the nine mile trek which raised more than £2,000.

Tara's Trek: Tara Loughlin and her family and friends setting off on their trek to raise funds for BHF NI

Tara's Trek: Tara Loughlin and her family and friends setting off on their trek to raise funds for BHF NI

The former healthcare worker was diagnosed with heart failure in June 2017. Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump sufficiently to maintain blood flow to meet the body’s needs. While there are treatments available to control the symptoms of heart failure, the only current cure is a heart transplant.

Tara said she is overwhelmed by the support from friend and family and the wider Ballyclare community.

She said: “Living with heart failure is a daily struggle. I used to be very fit and active but the heart failure means I struggle with physical activity. I was so determined to do the walk and I amazed myself by completing more than nine miles on the day. It was really tough and I was exhausted after but I’m really proud of myself for doing it. I am so grateful to all my family and friends who took part and everyone who supported us with donations. It’s overwhelming to have so much support and I’m really proud. I’m also very grateful to David Davies from Rathcoole, who owns Studio 13 Tattoos and Piercings, who held a tattoo raffle where I made over £100 and will also be offering heart tattoos all day in the near future to raise more money.”

Tara was first diagnosed with heart failure last year.

She said: “Six years ago I first noticed something was wrong. When I was running I couldn’t breathe as well as I used and would get some palpitations but I don’t think anything of it. Then three years ago I collapsed in work. I underwent a lot of investigations and was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy when nerves in the body’s extremities are damaged so I put all my problems down to that. Then last June I was again having palpitations that wouldn’t go away and after more tests I learned that my heart is damaged and I have heart failure.”

The Ballyclare woman said she wanted to give something back to the charity that researches so many heart conditions.

Jayne Murray, Head of BHF NI said: “With Tara’s support and the support of communities across Northern Ireland we can continue to fund the vital research needed to help keep hearts beating.” To sponsor Tara or learn more about her story visit justgiving.com/fundraising/tara-ferris