independent

Thursday 2 October 2014

Jeweller puts his heart into trust design

Margaret Roddy

Published 19/03/2014 | 05:20

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Omeath based Garrett Mallon, who designed cufflinks and pendants, for the Cormac McAnallen Trust to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tyrone player’s death.

As a big GAA fan, Omeath-based jeweller Garrett Mallon was delighted to be asked to design cufflinks and pendants for the Cormac McAnallen Trust to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tyrone player's death.

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As a big GAA fan, Omeath-based jeweller Garrett Mallon was delighted to be asked to design cufflinks and pendants for the Cormac McAnallen Trust to mark the 10th anniversary of the Tyrone player's death.

It's a cause close to his heart – not just because he's from Tyrone but also on a personal level as three members of his family have a similar heart defect to the one which claimed the life of the 24-year-old Gaelic star.

A former chairman of Cu Chullain Gaels GFC, Garrett had helped fundraise for the trust, which aims to raise awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death, and also worked on the Campa Cormac for several years.

'We were raising money for our own club so I said that when we were doing that, we might as well do it for the trust so we ended up with enough money to buy two defibrillators for the trust as well as one our own club,' said Garrett.

At the time, he little realised that he would end up buying a defibrillator for his own home after the family discovered that his wife Sarah and two boys have a hereditary disorder that affects the electrical functioning of the heart without affecting the heart's structure

'Oisin had been in hospital and an GCE showed that he had an issue with his heart. Further tests showed that it was genetic, Long QT syndrome (LQTS) and that Sarah and his older brother Michael also shared it. We also found that Sarah's father had it as well as his sister and her son.' The family also discovered that a cousin had died on the pitch playing football in Warrenpoint.

While Garrett accepts that some people find such screening to be controversial he feels that it is worth it if it can stop young sportspeople from dying.

'Our boys aren't allowed to play Gaelic or soccer although they can have a kick-around in the school yard. It's hard for them, especially for Michael who loved football and sees some of his mates playing in the senior team. They're on beta blockers and they know that they can't play strenuous sports.'

However, he points out, that without screening, young sports people can die on the pitch or at home after exerting themselves.

'I'm happy to know that we are doing everything we can do everything to keep the lads safe.'

In addition to raising awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death and the benefits of screening, the trust also raises money for research into the condition, or defibrillators for clubs, and provides counselling.

'It's an honour to have been asked to design the pins and cufflinks for the Trust's dinner in City Hotel, Armagh on March 21st,' said Garrett.

The pins are made from sterling silver in the shape of a C for Cormac and a gold heart in the centre to represent the charity's logo and what the charity stands for the heart.

To find out more about the Cormac Trust, visit their website www.cormactrust.com

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