Belfast Telegraph

Mother of tragic Tyrone GAA star Cormac extends sympathy to family of Derry City captain

By Victoria Leonard

Ryan McBride's tragic death brought back poignant memories for the mother of late Tyrone GAA star Cormac McAnallen, who passed away due to Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) on March 2, 2004.

Like Ryan, Cormac was also a club captain who appeared to be a healthy young man in his 20s.

"I want to extend my sympathy to Ryan's family", said Bridget.

"I know the sudden shock of losing such a healthy, bright, good young person.

"When Cormac died we weren't aware of SADS, of the fact that young people who seem perfectly healthy can be struck down overnight. I think it's different from when you are expecting someone who is very ill to die, to pass away after a long drawn-out illness.

"Every time something like this happens, it reminds me of Cormac.

"Ryan seems to have been a very nice, decent young man with good playing ability and a good character.

"In the case of Cormac and a lot of people who have died tragically or suddenly, the family find motivation in fighting against the cause of death.

"When we realised we knew nothing about Cormac's condition we felt shock and anger that we had no information, then we felt we must do something to raise awareness of this condition. We set up The Cormac Trust to advocate for people to get screened, and provided defibrillators and CPR training for sports clubs, schools, leisure centres, lifeboats and businesses.

"In total we have supplied 200 to 300 defibrillators which were either given entirely free to organisations or at a reduced cost. We also advocated screening and advice. We know there are people who would be dead if not for a defibrillator supplied by or bought from us, or through the CPR we have taught."

The Cormac Trust can be contacted on (028) 3754 7721.

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