Date: 22 Jun 2023Belfast City Airport has donated potentially life-saving defibrillator equipment to St John’s Camogie Club in Carnlough, in memory of former youth player and local resident, Maggie Black.
The much-loved five-year-old tragically passed away in December 2021 as a result of undiagnosed Addison’s Disease, a condition extremely rare especially in someone of Maggie’s age.
After falling ill at home in rural Glenarm, Maggie was forced to wait 70 minutes for the ambulance service to arrive on scene to administer medical assistance that could possibly have saved her life.
This state-of-the-art defibrillator, donated by Belfast City Airport’s longstanding Community Fund, could prevent another incident like this happening in the seaside village by ensuring residents have public access to medical provision until such times as professional health services can reach the location.
Speaking on behalf of Belfast City Airport, Director of Corporate Services, Michelle Hatfield, commented:
“It is a true privilege and pleasure to be able to donate this potentially life-saving defibrillator to St John’s Camogie Club in memory of ‘Wee Maggie’ as she was affectionately known to all around her.
“Carnlough is a picturesque and beautifully peaceful place to live but its rural location does mean that quick access to vital medical help in times of emergency is extremely limited.
“Whilst this equipment cannot substitute for professional medical attention, it will act as a critical lifeline for people until such assistance can reach them and it will undoubtedly save lives in the future.”
During the lengthy wait for medical aid to reach the County Antrim coast, the Black family called upon the local fire service for assistance. Attending the scene that morning was Carnlough resident and Watch Commander at Belfast City Airport Fire Service, Martin Campbell.
“Community is at the heart of everything we do at Belfast City Airport so hearing how the whole village of Carnlough came together in a time of need, including one of our very own employees, and how it has supported each other ever since, inspired us to explore ways the Airport could help too.
“We are delighted to have found a way to possibly prevent future tragedies in the area and honour Maggie’s memory.”
Speaking at the installation of the defibrillator at St John’s Camogie Club playing fields in the heart of Carnlough village, Maggie’s mother Sheenagh Black said:
“We are so grateful for Belfast City Airport donating this defibrillator in Maggie’s memory and helping keep her name and spirit alive.
“Maggie was always so full of life at the camogie club, playing and having fun with her friends, so it’s very fitting for this life-saving equipment to be installed here.”
“As a family, we would never wish anyone else to experience what we went through, but the sad reality is that this invaluable defibrillator, kindly provided by Belfast City Airport, will be needed somewhere down the line and it could be the difference between life and death.”
Compassionately compelled by the passing of their daughter, Maggie’s parents launched a petition, Maggie’s Call, which called for the fire service to also be automatically dispatched alongside the ambulance service to emergency medical calls in rural areas.
Whilst the service is up and running in Carnlough, eighteen months down the line, it has not yet been given the green light elsewhere.
The defibrillator installation comes ahead of an annual camogie tournament in the village held in Maggie’s memory each summer and is the latest project supported by Belfast City Airport’s Community Fund.