‘We run for hope’
Naoimh Tuohy ran the VHI mini-marathon in aid of Crumlin’s Children Hospital’s after her son Arlo was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition
Naoimh Tuohy: ‘It’s such an energetic, brilliant event with all these women running together’
Naoimh Tuohy’s son had just completed his first week of junior infants when he collapsed suddenly in September 2016. It was a Sunday morning and Tuohy was at home with her three children when her son Arlo suffered a cardiac arrest.
“I went into sheer panic. My older guy was six at the time and he was brilliant. We don’t give kids half enough credit. He was clearly terrified but he went to the window and opened it to get air for his brother and then said he would watch for the ambulance.”
Naoimh immediately called the emergency services when her son fell and was guided through CPR by a man on the other end of the line while she waited for medical help. “The expertise and professionalism of the guy on the phone was amazing. I was so scared and hysterical but he cut through all that and explained what I needed to do when I hadn’t a clue.”
Arlo was brought to Crumlin Children’s Hospital and spent the following nine days in the intensive care unit. Initially it was unclear what had led to Arlo’s collapse. “When I asked the question is he going to be okay, the doctors were very black and white. They said we don’t know what’s going on, we’re testing but yes, he could die. When you hear those words you go into a very dark spot.”
Arlo was eventually diagnosed with Long QT3 syndrome which means he has a gene that can cause a fatally dangerous heart beat and lead to sudden death. He made a slow but steady recovery and nine months later his mother ran the VHI Women’s Mini-marathon in aid of Crumlin’s Children Hospital. “I got such support from the hospital. They were so understanding and helpful and nothing was too difficult. You try and do everything right to protect your child and then something like this happens that you have no control over. Running was just a small way of giving something back.”
Tuohy walked in last year’s mini-marathon but plans to run the 10km this June in aid of the Irish Heart Foundation ( you can donate here) “It’s such an energetic, brilliant event with all these women running together. I did it last year with a couple of mums from the crèche and this year there’s a team of 10 of us. We call it team Arlo and it’s a group of brilliant, feisty women.”
Earlier this year VHI teamed Tuohy up with artist Claudine O’Sullivan and commissioned a piece of artwork based on Tuohy’s decision to take part in the race. O’Sullivan’s painting depicts a running track leading from a heart to the words “we run for hope”.
“For me, even though we went through something so drastic, Arlo has come out the other end and he’s stronger for it,” says Tuohy. “I’ve also come out stronger and hopefully I’ll keep running every year for as long as I can and connecting back to what Arlo went through.”