A 57 year old patient suffering from Alpha-1 will ride the length of Ireland from Mizen Head in the South to Malin Head in the North. Johnny Hannan wants to draw attention to his condition and make people, medical and lay, aware of it.

Asked why he was undertaking such an arduous task in his condition, Johnny said:
“When I was diagnosed with both lung and liver Alpha-1 in 2003 my specialist said that I had a condition that was not well known. So there must be thousands of people out there with it and who know nothing. To have this condition is life changing. I had to change my whole work and lifestyle because of it.”
“More people, especially doctors in hospitals and GPs need to know more about it. They should have notices on their boards telling people about it. They should test all their liver and lung patients for it.”
“It may seem crazy to ride a horse the length of Ireland but I made up my mind that I just have to do something to bring Alpha-1 to the attention of doctors and patients, particularly those who have liver or lung problems.”
“Much more needs to be done to detect and help people with Alpha-1. The test is very simple - just like a cholesterol test and can be done FREE by the Alpha One Foundation in Beaumont Hospital.”

The ride from Mizen Head in Cork to Malin Head in Donegal will pass through Goleen, Durrus, Macroom, Mallow, Charleville, Patrickswell, Limerick, Ennis, Gort, Oranmore, Galway, Tuam, Claremorris, Charlestown, Tubbercurry, Sligo, Bundoran, Ballybofey, Letterkenny, Buncrana, Carndonagh to Malin Head.

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) is one of the most common hereditary disorders in Ireland. It affects both lungs and liver and can cause emphysema and cirrhosis of the liver. These can cause life threatening conditions in both adults and children. It is estimated that over 1,200 people have Alpha-1 which is either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as something else e.g. COPD or Asthma.

Awareness meetings will be held in Cork (Moran's Silver Springs Hotel) on Thursday 7th June at 8pm and in Galway (Marriott Courtyard) on Wednesday 13th June 8pm. All GPs in Cork and Galway along with nurses and physiotherapists are invited to the meeting.

On 13th June in the Marriott Courtyard, Galway there will be an information meeting for patients, their families and other interested people from 2.00pm. Entrance to the meetings is free and is being organised by the Alpha One Foundation.

Lead speakers at the meetings will include, Prof Gerry McElvaney (Beaumont Hospital), Dr Cathal Bredin (Cork University Hospital) and Dr Anton O'Regan (UCH Galway).

For further information contact: Kitty O'Connor at Beaumont Hospital at 01-8093871 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Alpha One Foundation supports the Irish Donor Network - Always carry a Donor Card.

 

What is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin?
Alpha-1 antitrypsin is a vital protein produced by the liver to protect the lungs. It provides protection from the harmful effects of infections and inhaled irritants, particularly tobacco smoke. It can be easily measured by a simple blood test. 
What is Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency?
Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (Alpha-1) is a genetic condition which, after cystic fibrosis, is the commonest genetic disorder in Ireland. It severely affects more than 15,000 people, with another 250,000 carriers also at risk of lung and liver disease on the island of Ireland. It is a proven genetic risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
How Do I Get Tested?
The Alpha One Foundation provides free testing for Alpha-1 as part of a national screening programme which is funded by the HSE. For more details ring 01-8093871 or email alpha1@rcsi.ie.