Friday 28 July 2017

'A wonderful person, just fantastic' - the Irish woman who died raising money in memory of her late father

Majella Duffy (35) died of unknown causes while climbing highest mountain in Africa

Tragedy: Majella Duffy
Tragedy: Majella Duffy

Olivia Kelleher and Wayne O'Connor

The Irish Heart Foundation has paid tribute to a young Cork woman who died while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in a bid to raise funds for the charity.

Majella Duffy (35), from Rathcormac, near Fermoy in Co Cork, was climbing to raise money for the charity following the death of her father. He had heart disease and died at the age of 47 following a heart attack.

She had recently thanked people who had supported her appeal and had managed to raise more than €8,700 for the Irish Heart Foundation by climbing Africa's highest mountain.

Anne Riordan, regional spokeswoman for the Irish Heart Foundation, said staff at the charity were saddened by Majella's death.

Ms Riordan said she had met Majella on a number of occasions during her fundraising efforts and that she was touched by what she had done for the charity.

"It is desperately sad," said Ms Riordan.

"She raised nearly €9,000 for us (with this climb). We would like to pass on our condolences to her family," she added.

"I only met her a few times when she approached us about fundraising but she was such a lovely wonderful person. She was just fantastic."

In her online fundraising page before the trip Majella said her father's death had changed her life.

"I lost my dad who was only 47 years old to a massive heart attack 15 years ago.

"My entire life turned upside down in just a few minutes and was never going to be the same again."

She added that she was climbing Kilimanjaro to raise money and also to make people more aware of work the charity does for people with heart disease. She was involved in a golf classic last month and was planning other Irish Heart Foundation fundraisers for later in the year.

Majella was athletic and frequently attended NRG Xpress gym in Little Island. She was also known on the bodybuilding circuit.

She was an only child and was described as being a person of extraordinary drive and energy. She was an employee of Laya Healthcare in Little Island, Cork.

It is understood that Majella started to feel unwell when she was at an altitude of 4,000 metres on Mount Kilimanjaro.

Adventure Holiday specialists Earth's Edge issued a statement in which they said that Majella died on July 14 at 8.15am local time while on the mountain

James McManus, managing director of Earth's Edge, said she was attended to at the scene by a doctor but passed away a short time later. The cause of her death was not known.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with her family," he said. "She died of unknown causes while being attended to by a doctor at the scene."

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was liaising with her family.

Sunday Independent

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