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Marathon runner saved by CPR urges awareness on Restart A Heart Day

On Restart A Heart Day (today, 16 October 2023), a Sligo marathon runner shares his story on how his life was saved last April by the quick CPR actions of his 18 year old daughter and local Community First Responders.

Molua Donohoe, from Rosses Point, Sligo, suffered an unexpected cardiac arrest while exercising on a rowing machine in his home last April. A lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, he had run more than 50 marathons when he collapsed and was saved by the quick actions of his daughter, Alannah and local Community First Responders, Reece Cawley and RNLI volunteer, Daryl Ewing.

Now, Molua is helping to promote Restart a Heart Day, which aims to highlight the role Community First Responders play in saving lives, by sharing his story. Restart a Heart Day also encourages the general public to know the location of their nearest automated external defibrillator (AED).

Molua explained: “I had run more than 50 marathons and was generally in good health when I collapsed. Luckily my teenage daughter Alannah was in the house and immediately started CPR taking instructions on the phone from the Emergency Services. Alannah learned a bit about CPR in transition year and gave the call-taker our eircode.”

Within minutes local Community First Responder, Reece Cawley arrived at the house to help. Reece received a text from the HSE National Ambulance Service as he is a member of a new Community First Responder group in the area.

Molua continued: “Reece happened to be at a meeting at the nearby RNLI station as he is also a volunteer crew member there. He took the defibrillator off the wall when he got the text and was driven to our house a mile away by RNLI Volunteer Daryl Ewing. They both applied the defibrillator which gave me a shock and my heart restarted and soon afterwards the National Ambulance Service arrived.

“It’s important that as many people as possible are aware of CPR and know where defibrillators are located and how to use them. It should be like learning to ride a bike. CPR and a defibrillator saved my life. I would urge anyone to do a CPR course. They will tell you how to use a defibrillator and you could save someone’s life. I didn’t realise how important they are.”

The Community First Responders Group in Rosses Point has only been active for three weeks when the incident happened. Today, Molua was delighted to be reunited with Reece and Daryl, the HSE paramedics and the ambulance dispatcher who were involved in his rescue.

He said: “I can’t thank them enough. I would definitely encourage people to start Community First Responder Groups where they are needed, especially in rural parts of the country. Time is of the essence when someone has a heart attack and CPR can keep you going until the ambulance crew get to you.”

Molua was treated in Sligo University Hospital and later had two stents inserted in the Mater Hospital in Dublin as he had partial blockages in two arteries. He is back at work in the Atlantic Technological University, training on his bicycle and walking a couple of hours a day. Recently he went on holiday in Majorca with his family. “I am feeling good and just want to thank everyone for coming to my rescue”, he added.

Robert Morton, Director of the HSE National Ambulance Service said: “Out of hospital cardiac arrest survival is dependent on early recognition of an emergency, alerting the Emergency Medical Services, good quality CPR and early defibrillation. As the actions of Alannah and Reece demonstrate, Community First Responders can make all the difference when an out of hospital cardiac arrest occurs. Through their swift actions, Molua is here with us today to help celebrate Restart a Heart Day.”

To find out more about Community First Responder Groups in your area visit

You can also check out Restart a Heart events at