By MARY MAGEE
Martina McConville with her
son Eoghan with members of the Cardiomyopathy
Support Group. They are Ethel Mason, Elaine
Scott, Gillian McFarlane, Rosie Mallon, Martina
and her son Eoghan. Two other supporters Irene
and John Porter from Lisburn were absent.
A DUNMURRY mother of a three year-old boy who
suffers from the serious heart condition cardiomyopathy is
holding a ball next month in aid of the charity that fights the
Martina McConville, 35, from Dunmurry Lodge,
is holding a Valentine's Ball at the Europa Hotel on Saturday
February 1, to raise money for the Cardiomyopathy Association, a
charity that offers information and support to affected families
and funds clinical care.
Martina's son Eoghan suffers from
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle to
thicken and can disrupt the heart's rhythm. The condition is the
biggest medical cause of sudden death in the under 35s but if
diagnosed in time can be treated with drugs and surgery.
Cardiomyopathy is often inherited and following
Eoghan's diagnosis it was found that his dad Damian is also
affected. Martina said: "When we first discovered Eoghan had
this condition and realised the seriousness and the implications
for his life we were devastated.
"We began a quest for more knowledge, which
took us to the Cardiomyopathy Association. Through the charity
we discovered we were not alone and there were many other people
in Northern Ireland with this condition and the same concerns
and fears. But we also found many of them were getting on with
their lives and living a full life.
"We joined the Northern Ireland
Cardiomyopathy Support Group which gives sufferers and carers
invaluable information and a chance to meet other
affected families and share experiences." She
said her aim is now to make more people aware of the condition.
In 1992 it killed Welsh international Terry Yorath's 15 year old
son Daniel, who was playing football in his garden. In June
2003, Cameroon international Marc-Vivien Foe, a 28 year old
player for Manchester City, died from cardiomyopathy while
playing in a match against Colombia in France. The condition was
also responsible for the death of GAA player Cormac McAnallen
nearly three years ago.
Martina continued: "We want to make people
more aware of cardiomyopathy and raise funds for the
Cardiomyopathy Association which is working hard to save lives,
including funding a nurse specialist at the Royal Hospitals in
Martina, who is arranging the event with
members of the support group, hopes the event will attract more
than 300 people and raise many thousands of pounds for the
But she said that she still needs more items
to raffle. So far the list of prizes include signed boxing
gloves donated by Lennox Lewis, an England jersey signed by five
Manchester United players, an apartment in Spain for a week and
a spa day at International Hair and Beauty in Moira.
"If anyone can help in any way, I would be
most grateful," said Martina.
If you can help Martina with prizes or would
like to order tickets for the evening, call her on 9060 3449 or
Tickets are �60 each and include dinner,
comedy from Folks on the Hill's Sean Crummy and dancing to
award-winning band James Peak Xperience.