THE Caring Caretaker, Davy Boyle MBE, is calling for the local community to play their part in helping to save lives as part of his 2012 charity campaign.
Davy, who has raised almost £400,000 for charity down the years, is backing the ‘Defibrillators - at the heart of every game’ drive this year as one of his nine nominated charities.
He is hoping to raise enough money to help him purchase 16 defibrillators which he will distribute to various sporting clubs throughout the borough.
And he is calling on the public to back him in this very worthwhile cause and ultimately help save lives.
“People often use the phrase ‘life changing’ but something like a defibrillator really is because it can make the difference between someone living or not,” Davy told Times Sport.
“I’d encourage everyone out there to get behind us and support this as these are vital and will make a huge difference.
“You can play your part in saving lives.
“I want the defibrillator to become part of the kit along with the drinks and other equipment a team uses.
“It’s vitally important that as many sports people as possible have access to them. So I’d encourage people to back my campaign or sports clubs to push ahead and get their own.
“Heartsine, who are a local company, will be supplying the defibrillators and I thank them for the support they’ve given me already.
“It wasn’t so long ago that I didn’t even really know what a defibrillator was. But events over the last year have brought them to prominence and shown exactly how important they are.”
One man knows more than most just how important the piece of kit is.
Dennis McNeill, who is a personal friend of Davy’s had to endure the distressing scenes of seeing his son Christopher collapse during a game in last year’s Milk Cup.
But thankfully due to the quick actions of medical staff and the fact a defibrillator was on hand to be used Christopher survive his horrific ordeal.
“Christopher is alive today because of Doctor Healy and the defibrillator,” said Dennis, who is backing Davy‘s campaign.
“Our lives changed that day and being honest we probably didn’t even know what a defibrillator was until then.
“But we have to take the positives out of events such as what happened to Christopher so that it gets out into the public how important this piece of kit is.
“And what happened to Fabrice Muamba last weekend pushes it into the spotlight further.
“Nobody knows when anyone could be affected by something like this, but it’s vital to have the equipment on hand if it ever does happen.
“Having a defibrillator is a bit like having a fire extinguisher. They are expensive to buy but so what if it’s never used. But there is one there if we ever do need it.
“Davy is doing a fantastic job to help supply sporting clubs with this piece of kit, but hopefully this will also act as an incentive to get clubs to look into investing some money so that they have more than one.
“Really I would say anyone involved in a sporting club should push for a defibrillator to be at hand during both training sessions and games.
“The medical profession will tell you that when something like this happens time is vital. The person needs medical assistance as soon as possible.
“Every minute lost can lead to further difficulties down the line for the person.”
As well as raising money to buy defibrillators Davy is also raising money for Chest, Heart & Stroke, Ulster Cancer Foundation, NI Children to Lapland, Community Rescue Service, Spina Bifida, Friends of Willowbrook, The Blind Centre and Callum’s Chance of Sight.
And he has two fundraising events coming up over the next two months.
“I am holding a Charity Cycle on Sunday 22 April in conjunction with the Bann Wheelers,” he revealed.
“Those who take part can cycle between 15 and 50 miles and there is a minimum donation of £10.
“My annual Golf Day is also coming up on May 4th. Anyone wishing to take part should contact Castlerock Golf Club as there are limited tee times available.”