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Ulster Rugby star Michael Lowry and Belfast businessman Jonathan Ireland are the latest volunteers to join forces to support to CRY (Ireland) in its efforts to highlight issues of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). 

SADS is diagnosed when someone dies suddenly following a cardiac arrest and no obvious cause can be found, even after a post-mortem. Since this can be caused by an inherited heart condition, the person’s immediately family is often referred to a specialist genetics centre for assessment.

Pictured at Kingspan Stadium (L-R) are Ulster Ruby star Michael Lowry, CRY (Ireland) Chair Tommy Fegan and Jonathan Ireland, Founder & Partner, Lanyon Group.
Pictured at Kingspan Stadium (L-R) are Ulster Ruby star Michael Lowry, CRY (Ireland) Chair Tommy Fegan and Jonathan Ireland, Founder & Partner, Lanyon Group.

CRY (Ireland) provides this screening free of charge at its Centre for Cardiac Risk in Younger Persons (CRYP) at Tallaght Hospital, as well as providing support for loved ones in the aftermath of a death by the disease.

Ulster fly half Lowry has been appointed an Ambassador for CRY (Ireland) – a role through which he hopes to encourage young individuals to avail of the charity’s free heart screening service.

“Whilst SADS is by no means limited to the sports field, I have been particular struck by the number of tragic cases involving young athletes, all presumed to be in prime health.

Jonathan Ireland, meanwhile, has been appointed to the Board of the CRY (Ireland). A Founder and Partner of leading corporate communications firm, Lanyon Group, he will assist the charity in its bid to raise awareness of SADS and its screening and family support services.

“Having lost my best friend to SADS aged just 24 in 2010, I have seen first-hand the devastating impact the disease can have on families, friendship circles and the wider community,” explained Ireland.

“But I have also seen the incredible lifeline that CRY (Ireland) brings to those in the aftermath of a death through its screening and family support services. In addition, thousands of individuals across Ireland avail of the charity’s screening service proactively and there is no doubt that this is saving many lives each year.”

CRY (Ireland) was established in 2002 by parents who had experienced the effects of sudden and unexplained death within their families in response to a lack of information or support cardiac Ireland.

Since then, the charity has established a dedicated investigative treatment and support programme located at Tallaght University Hospital, which provides services free of cost to families affected by sudden cardiac conditions and to those considered “at risk” of having such underlying heart abnormalities.

CRY (Ireland) Chairman Tommy Fegan from Newry commented: “This year, we have set an ambitious task to build a new and expanded state-of-the-art CRY Centre – the result of a unique alliance between Tallaght University Hospital, the Department of Health and CRY (Ireland).

“This fantastic new facility will enable CRY to eliminate the lengthening waiting list and to provide a significantly increased and more timely screening, investigative and treatment service.

“CRY (Ireland) is delighted that these two young high achievers have come on board, and looks forward to their leadership and endorsement in the coming years.”

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