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We’ll Save Lives in Cormac’s Memory – Raising Awareness of Heart Conditions

Filed under: News/Events - Posted on Friday, February 10th, 2006 @ 3:26 pm

The parents of GAA football legend Cormac McAnallen whose sudden death devastated the nation are fighting to save the lives of other young people prone to fatal cardiac arrest.His father Brendan said he still feels he was robbed of something in March 2004 when his son died in his sleep from a genetic heart condition – and would do anything to have him back.

Cormac is remembered by his friends and family in a new TG4 documentary on his short life.

He was only 24 years of age when he died – but neighbours and family reveal the huge mark he left, in the hour-long programme on his life.

His brother Donal said his larger-than-life brother was his hero. He said: “He was my hero, but I didn’t realise it at the time. It’s not the kind of thing you say to your brother.

“He inspired me in ways that I did not recognise at the time. We should tell our brothers and sisters and family and friends that they are our heroes while they are alive.”

Cormac’s shocking death from a heart condition put the highlight on Sudden Adult Death Syndrome and The Cormac Trust was set up in his name to raise awareness about heart conditions.

His mother, Bridget, said his family are determined to try and save other young people from dying from the illness that killed their son.

She said: “The business of saving other people’s lives is very important. It might seem like only a small thing, but for each person who loses someone or not, as the case may be, it’s such an important thing.”

She said she believes her son’s death has nothing to do with the amount of sport he played – despite the common misconception that intense exercise can affect the heart. She said: “What we believe Cormac died of, anyone under any circumstances could die from that condition.

“It’s a condition which affects the electrics of the heart, what causes the heart to beat.

“But the type we believe Cormac died of has probably nothing to do with playing sport to the best of our knowledge. In fact people with the same condition usually die in their sleep.”

The Trust is now working towards putting a defibrillator – a machine which kickstarts the heart – in every club in Tyrone.

Dr Gareth Loughrey, from the Cormac Trust, said: “The Cormac Trust wouldn’t have been established if it wasn’t felt it would benefit young athletes in our own community and throughout Ireland.

“We would hope by increasing awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death that young athletes with a family history of sudden death and those athletes who may have worrying symptoms might feel they should go to a family doctor with a view to getting screened for an underlying congenital heart abnormality.”

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