The father of a young Derry man who died suddenly in November 2016 handed over some of their fundraising efforts in his memory to British Heart Foundation NI (BHF NI) this week.
John King, whose son Kevin King (22) collapsed suddenly during a game of indoor soccer with friends at Campsie last November handed over £2800 to the charity on Tuesday. Although the cause of Kevin’s death is yet to be confirmed, preliminary findings have shown myocardial fibrosis, when scars form in the heart muscle without an obvious injury and can lead to sudden death.
The sum is just some of the money the Derry community have been raising in the popular GAA player’s memory. Their BHF Gift of Hope fundraising page has raised more than £12,500 so far for heart research.
The BHF is the largest independent funder of heart research in the UK and the charity is currently funding a number of research projects into myocardial fibrosis and other causes of sudden death in young people.
Professor Houman Ashrafian leads BHF-funded research into myocardial fibrosis at the University of Oxford and is a consultant cardiologist at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. He thanked the King family and their friends for funding projects like his in memory of Kevin.
Professor Houman Ashrafian said:
“When young people are suddenly lost to a heart condition, it can be devastating and we are so grateful to Kevin’s family and friends for their support at this terrible time. Our research is looking for ways to prevent the dangerous scars forming in heart muscle that can cause these tragedies. Throughout its 55 year history the BHF has pioneered research that is saving lives from sudden death but there is still much more to be done. It is vital we can continue our research and help prevent any more suffering.”
Karen McCammon, BHF NI health lead and specialist heart nurse said:
“We were incredibly privileged to meet John and thank him personally for the family’s fundraising efforts. This much-loved young GAA player’s family have fundraised tirelessly for us to fund research into heart conditions that claim the lives of too many young people here.
“This week’s donation was just some of the money the family and the wider Derry community have been raising for us and are continuing to do so in Kevin’s memory. We can’t thank them enough for striving so hard to help others in the midst of their own unimaginable grief.”
The BHF has helped make major breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of dangerous heart conditions. These medical developments have saved countless lives. The charity continues to lead the way in funding research in this area but can only do this through the support of the public.
Science funded by the BHF has contributed to advances in pacemakers, transplant surgery, defibrillators and the development of statins.
To find out more about the BHF’s research visit bhf.org.uk/research or to donate to the campaign in Kevin King’s memory go to giftofhope.bhf.org.uk/In-Memory/Kevin-King