It wasn’t long after his wife died, that Val started to lose his hair.
“After the funeral, I went up town and everyone was shaking my hand. I couldn’t do it anymore. So, I went back home, and I didn’t leave the house for four weeks”.
He says family and friends tried everything to help. They even sent the priest up, saying that if he keeps this up, he won’t be around much longer himself. Val admits, he was going downhill.
Val’s friend brought him for drive one day, little did he know that Val was on his way to the Ballina Men’s Shed.
“I haven’t looked back since,” he says, “The shed saved my life and that’s the truth of it. I wouldn’t be here otherwise”.
Before he retired, Val did a lot of woodturning, a difficult skill to master and something that is in demand in a lot the men’s sheds. The shed asked Val to join and share this skill with them. “From there on,” Val says, “I could not look back, because I enjoyed going to the shed. It got me out of the house. It was a new lease of life for me”.
A few months later, a health check was carried out in the Ballina Men’s Shed. Val, being stubborn as some of us are, said that he didn’t need a health check and he was fine. “I was fit as a fiddle,” Val explains.
Val reluctantly had his blood pressure checked, and the results were stark. His blood was through the roof, and he was on the brink of a major heart attack. Val was encouraged to go straight to his doctor, being told if he didn’t, he might not see the weekend.
“My doctor said I was a very lucky man, that I was in the shed there and the health check was being given. If I wasn’t in the shed, I wouldn’t have got my blood pressure checked, and I wouldn’t be here telling my story.
“My hair has started to grow back, every day I’m looking forward to going to the shed. It’s changed my life completely”.
Like many shedders out there, Val is unable to attend his shed due to Covid-19. The current crisis has meant that sheds across Ireland are unable to raise vital funds to keep their shed going. Please, help support the men’s shed by giving to the Save Our Sheds (SOS) by visiting www.menssheds.ie/sos.
The sheds have been a vital part of communities, they’ve been there when we needed them, now, they need you.