The Cormac Trust was set up after the sudden death of Cormac McAnallen in the morning of 2nd March 2004.
Cormac’s death came as a shock to people not only in his local area, but also to people all over Ulster and Ireland, as he was a well-known sportsman of exceptional fitness and of ostensibly perfect health.
It was largely due to the death of Cormac, Irish youth rugby international John McCall and other subsequent cases that the Irish public became aware of the issue of sudden cardiac death among young people.
From the time of Cormac’s death the McAnallen family was keen to direct public attention to these cardiac conditions that cause such sudden deaths. Hence the family, with the assistance of the Tyrone County Board of the GAA, set up the Cormac Trust. The following are its four objects:
- To raise awareness of sudden cardiac deaths in young people, and its causes;
- To promote cardiac screening for young people, especially for athletes;
- To provide education and information to raise awareness at government level and among other authorities as to the value of providing facilities for the screening of young people;
- To provide automated external defibrillators (AEDs) for sports clubs in the local region, for the use of the entire local community, and to train people in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the use of defibrillators.
Initial publicity for the Cormac Trust was generated by events in Croke Park and Belfast in December 2004, attended by various personalities, including sports-stars Peter Canavan, Brian O’Driscoll, Jeremy Davidson, Brian Kerr and Chris Morgan, as well as Liam Mulvihill (Ardstiúrthóir CLG).
The formal launch of the Trust took place at the Heart of Gold banquet, held in the Armagh City Hotel in February 2005. £121,000 was raised for the Trust at this event, through an auction of various items, including a portrait of Cormac by Niall Laird of Lairdesign, which was bought by the GAA for £21,000.
The Cormac Trust logo, consists of a silhouette figure holding a ball, against a backdrop of green fields, shrubbery and hills. The silhouette figure is based on Cormac’s body-shape. On one hand this portrays how sudden cardiac death can suddenly remove an apparently fit person from this world, and also signifies how the Trust adopts Cormac’s name as a means to illustrate that such deaths have happened and could happen to many other young people in different situations. The green background represents the type of rural environment in Tyrone in which Cormac grew up, while the sports goalposts also in the background indicate how the Trust makes provision for the prevention of sudden cardiac death across a range of sports, from Gaelic games to rugby to soccer, and other sports too.
The phrase “Croí na Féile” in the main logo reflects Cormac’s interest in Gaelic culture and his own personal spirit – it translates as “the Heart or Soul of Generosity or Hospitality”. This is also relevant as the motto of the Trust as it has been actively providing lifesaving equipment and training for communities which might not otherwise have the means to provide them.
Since early 2005, the Cormac Trust has provided 54 AEDs for sports clubs and trained 350 people in their use and in CPR resuscitation. The intention is that everybody within five minutes of a defibrillator in the event of a cardiac emergency.
These actions have been made possible due to the hard work of members of the Cormac Trust committee; many clubs, groups and individuals who have raised funds; and generous benefactors from near and far, young and old.
Fundraising events for the Cormac Trust have taken many forms, including musical nights, sponsored walks, marathon-runs, house-decorating, golf-outings, quizzes and sports tournaments.
The Cormac Trust was established on21 March 2005 on foot of a Declaration of Trust. The Trust identifies the following objects:
- The Provision of education and information to the community in Northern Ireland in the first instance in order to raise awareness about fatal and non-fatal heart conditions in young people with particular reference to young sportsmen and women.
- The provision of education and information about medical screening to the community in Northern Ireland in the first instance to raise awareness of its benefits for the treatments of fatal and non-fatal heart conditions in young people with particular reference to young sportsmen and women.
- The provision of education and information to raise awareness in Government Health Departments as both local and national level of fatal and non-fatal heart conditions in young people and to assist where possible in their initiaves in the areas of screening, education and treatment.
- The provision of defibrillators to amateur sporting organisations in County Tyrone in their first instance for the benefit of young sportsmen and women and for use in their communities.