Ballyclare family help raise £3k for British Heart Foundation

A woman from Ballyclare has been overwhelmed by the support a recent charity effort received after her dad’s beard shave raised over £3,000 for a charity close to their hearts.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 3:13 pm

Sam Loughlin had been growing his beard and hair for some time before his daughter Tara, who was diagnosed with heart failure at the age of just 42, challenged him to cut them off to celebrate six decades of the British Heart Foundation in Northern Ireland.

Tara 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

Sam and Tara.

The former healthcare worker wanted to think of new ways to fundraise and so she took to Facebook and asked friends and family to donate to encourage Sam to brave the shave. Last week in Arlo’s Barbers in Ballyclare their family friend Ethan Adams shaved Sam’s beard and cut his hair.

Tara said: “It started as a joke when I asked my dad to shave his beard and cut his hair for BHF NI. He’s really proud of his beard so it was definitely a challenge for him. He even jokingly set up a rival Facebook page to get people to donate money for his campaign not to have his beard shaved. But it was all in good humour.

“We were delayed because of the pandemic restrictions which meant that his beard and hair got even longer. But last week our friend Ethan in Arlo’s got out the shaver and the clippers and finally was able to cut it all off.

“We think he looks brilliant, and he really has done a good deed all for a fantastic cause.”

Sam and Ethan.

The shave has so far raised almost £3,000 to fund BHF NI’s life saving research. Tara said she is overwhelmed by the support from friends and family and the wider Ballyclare community.

Tara added: “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 know how much the BHF’s research has done to help heart failure patients already and I want to keep raising money to help patients in the future. I know what it’s like to live with heart failure. It feels fantastic to know I am doing my bit to fund BHF’s research into my conditions, so it helps patients like me.

“I’m grateful to my dad for being such a good sport and to all my friends and family who have supported our fundraising challenge.”

Fearghal McKinney, Head of BHF NI, explained: “It is wonderful to have Tara and Sam’s support, especially as we celebrate the BHF’s 60th birthday in July. Since the BHF was established, our research and campaigning have contributed to the annual number of people dying from heart and circulatory diseases in Northern Ireland falling by half.

“But we’re not ready to stop yet. Our research in Northern Ireland and across the UK has helped save and change lives but there is still more to do and our goals for the next decades are even more ambitious.

“We are currently funding £1.8m at Queen’s University into research into a number of conditions including heart failure. The hard work and dedication of people like Tara is how we are able to fund heart failure research. But the Covid-19 pandemic has dealt a brutal blow to our work and so we really do need the public’s support more than ever.”

To take part in your own BHF NI Team 60 challenge, visit bhf.org.uk/NI60

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