The family of a fitness fanatic who died suddenly while kite-surfing last year have launched a tribute fund on what would have been his 40th birthday.
They want to raise money for the Heart Screening Clinic in the Mater Hospital which aims to curb Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.
Father-of-one Ger Fennelly, from Beaumont in Dublin, was a keen triathlon and ironman competitor with a love for kite-surfing.
His sudden death while kite-surfing on high post-storm waves off Dollymount Strand last October was a massive shock to his family, friends, and members of sporting clubs where he was well loved and respected.
It was not immediately known why Ger died or if he had suffered some sort of freak accident, but his family has recently been given a copy of the post-mortem and found the true cause of his death.
“It turned out to be Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS). Ger had a congenital heart problem and nobody knew anything about it,” said his sister Elaine.
“Ger died doing what he loved best, he was flying in the sky while kitesurfing when it happened,” she added.
Elaine said Ger had only been on the water 29 minutes the day he died, and that the week before he had been five and a half hours on his board, going from Dollymount and taking in the coast at Howth, Malahide, Portmarnock and Ireland’s Eye.
“He used to say it was great flying along on the waves beside the Stena Line ferry. He was in the top 10 of fittest people in the world on the Ironman challenge,” she explained.
“Losing him so suddenly was such a shock, and we really want to promote the SADS unit in the Mater so we can help them lessen the chance of it happening to other people.
“We decided to raise money to save lives for the Family Heart Screening Clinic in the Mater hospital where €45 is the cost of a life-saving scan or ECG for people at risk of SADS at this clinic.”
Donations to the fund can be made at tributefunds.materfoundation.ie.