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Brother's plea for support of heart charity after sudden death of Marcus (22)

THE younger brother of a tragic SADS victim has called on the public to give generously over Happy Heart Weekend.

Marcus Shearer (22) from Mount Merrion, Blackrock, Co Dublin passed away unexpectedly while travelling in Thailand on August 5, 2009 from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Marcus was a past pupil of Taney National School and Wesley College Dublin, he was also a recent graduate of Trinity College Dublin where he studied business.

His brother Philip (20) has urged the public to support the Irish Heart Foundation's charity appeal this weekend, which seeks to highlight sudden cardiac death.

"We would support any charity concerned with highlighting sudden cardiac death, every move to make people more aware is a positive one," Philip said.

Philip already spearheads a charity in his brother's name which has raised just under €90,000 for the Mater Heart Foundation.

"I've my finals in college next week so the fundraising has been put on the back burner for the moment," he said.

"Marcus's anniversary is in August and we are hoping to organise a fundraiser to mark the date of his death.

"We really want to keep the issue fresh in people's minds."

Happy Heart Weekend is the Irish Heart Foundation's single biggest fundraiser of the year and will see thousands of volunteers take to the streets selling Happy Heart badges for €2 each.

"Every €2 raised means a lot to us here at the Irish heart Foundation because our charity relies on donations for 90pc of our funding," said a spokesperson for the Irish Heart Foundation.

This year members of the public will also be able to purchase Happy Heart trolley keyrings for €3.

Heart disease is the biggest killer in Ireland, claiming nearly 10,000 lives each year.

Half of these deaths are caused by sudden cardiac death when the heart stops beating because of a disturbance to the heart's rhythm or after a heart attack.

"We know that many of these lives can be saved if more people know to call 999 and start CPR," the spokesperson added.