‘I want to give back’: Dad who has had heart surgery twice encourages people to join Mater Hospital fundraiser

A father of two who has had heart surgery twice at Dublin’s Mater Hospital is encouraging the public to attend a fundraiser for the hospital next month.

The Mater Foundation is asking people to participate in their 100 miles in a month challenge to fund life-saving equipment. And although the hospital is in the capital, it treats people from all over the country.

Shem Roberts, 39, who lives in Wexford, underwent vital surgery when he was just three years old and again as an adult. He says that he and countless others owe a debt of gratitude to the Mater’s staff.

“When I was three years old, doctors noticed a heart murmur and a leaking valve,” he said.

“I had to have open heart surgery to fix the tissue and because I was so young they went through my side rather than prying open my chest.

“Although it was a major operation, it went very well and I never had any problems with anything again – I just had regular check-ups to make sure everything was fine.

“But in 2015 I had to undergo a medical examination for the renewal of my truck driver’s license and my GP found something strange with my heart.”

Mr Roberts was referred to his local hospital for tests and after an angiography it was found another valve in his heart was leaking.

“The valve that was sorted when I was a kid was fine, but this time it was a bigger one, the aortic valve,” he said.

“I was referred to Mater for further testing and a few days later I received a call saying there was a blockage and I needed to come in for an operation to replace the valve.

“My father had died in maternity leave in 2004 after a heart transplant so I was very nervous about everything – even though I knew it was a very different ball game as I was only getting a whistle changed, not the whole heart.

“I told Dr. Nolke who would take care of me and he told me not to worry as it was a completely different operation to the one my father had and he performed it every day of the week.

“I asked him to explain without big words what was wrong with my heart and what he would do and he went through everything in great detail – it was very reassuring.

“He even told me I would be home in about a week and that I had nothing to worry about.”

This proved true when Mr Roberts, who is married to Emma and has two sons Joey, 7, and Ollie, 7 months, was back on his feet a few days after his surgery and back home in less than a week was .

“I think the Mater is one of the best causes out there. I’ve seen what they do first hand and they are brilliant.

“Doctors, nurses and hospital staff – there and across the country – don’t get enough credit for what they do.

“So I would encourage everyone to help if they can. I will be doing a fundraiser myself as I want to give something back for everything they have done for me.

For more information or to register for the challenge visit www.materfoundation.ie.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/i-want-to-give-something-back-dad-who-twice-underwent-cardiac-surgery-encourages-people-to-join-mater-hospital-fundraiser-41911603.html ‘I want to give back’: Dad who has had heart surgery twice encourages people to join Mater Hospital fundraiser

Fry Electronics Team

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