The family of a popular amateur footballer and dad-of-one who died suddenly from a heart defect have spoken of their joy at raising more than £11,000 for a cardiac arrest charity.
Marc Prendergast, from west Belfast, admitted himself to hospital with a pain in his chest in February 2020 and passed away a short time later, having previously shown no signs of ill-health.
The 38-year-old, a devoted family man who doted on his baby boy Max and wife Jennifer, was one of three players from west Belfast amateur football side Tullymore Swifts who have been struck down by a heart condition in the last few years.
To mark what would have been his 40th birthday in February, the Prendergast family organised a fundraiser for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (Cry) at the Devenish Complex in Finaghy, west Belfast.
After spending months tallying up the donations and gifts from well-wishers, Marc’s family was finally able to hand over a cheque to Cry last week for £11,035.
Marc’s sister Deborah Hughes, a care assistant from west Belfast, posted a picture of the cheque presentation on Facebook and spoke of the family’s delight at being able to raise so much money for charity.
She said: “Absolutely delighted to be able to hand over a cheque for £11,035 to the lovely representative from the Cry charity.
“Raising this amount of money in memory of Marc with the help of all our friends and family means so much, not only to us but to the families and people affected by heart problems.
“This donation will contribute to the availability of vital equipment for young people in Northern Ireland, enabling them to access much-needed heart health checks and aiding quick identification of potential heart conditions. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this worthy cause.”
Marc’s widow Jennifer Prendergast previously told Sunday Life she had been overwhelmed by the generosity of her community since the family announced the fundraising event on social media in January.
She said: “This is obviously very close to our hearts and it’s amazing how lovely and generous people have been, we’re so thankful.”