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We want good to come from Kevin's death; Gala ball will raise cash to help fund cardiac research.

Byline: CHRIS SHERRARD

BY CHRIS SHERRARD THE family of a young man who collapsed playing five-a-side football have planned a fundraising event in his honour.

Kevin King, 22, died suddenly from a previously unknown inherited heart condition in November 2016.

Following the tragedy, his parents learned he had arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy - a condition that damages the muscle of the heart and can lead to sudden death.

On May 4 next year, two days before what would have been Kevin's 25th birthday, John and Margaret are holding the King Of Hearts Ball in Titanic Belfast.

Money raised from the event will go to the British Heart Foundation NI for research into inherited conditions.

The GAA player's family and their community in Co Derry have raised more than PS60,000 for the charity but this is their first event held in Belfast.

Kevin's brother Martin said yesterday: "Kevin loved sport. He lived for football and his club. He was the last person you would expect to die so suddenly.

"His death devastated our family and left a hole in our lives that just can't be filled. But we wanted something good to come from his death.

"It happens across all walks of life and in all sports. Young GAA players, rugby players, soccer players and others are dying too soon and that's why the King Of Hearts Gala Ball will have a big focus on sport and how, with research, we can save the lives of young people."

The BHF estimates around 17,500 people in Northern Ireland have a faulty gene which puts them at an unusually high risk of developing heart disease or dying suddenly at a young age. It is believed at least one person aged under 35 dies every month from an undiagnosed heart condition here.

The black tie gala was launched yesterday by compere Adrian Logan and former Ireland rugby star Stephen Ferris who will talk at the event.

The sportsman said: "Knowing that every single month here in Northern Ireland a young person says goodbye to their parents, siblings, husband or wife and then never comes home again is just unthinkable."

irish@mgn.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

BID Orla Clarke, Martin King, Stephen Ferris & Adrian Logan

TRAGIC Kevin King

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 23, 2018
Words:374
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