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Cormac cycles on with hope in his heart...

IN 2011, Cormac Ryan played in goal for Dublin in the All-Ireland Minor Hurling final.

Five months later, he was in the Coronary Care Unit of Beaumont Hospital.

He had the condition known as 'heart block.' "My heart was stopping for up to five seconds at a time," explains Cormac.

"It was skipping beats and dropping as low as 26 beats per minute at night.

"I was discharged from hospital with a pacemaker implanted in my chest. And the medical advice was to give up Gaelic games.

"But, thankfully, I was lucky enough to resume my playing career, and I returned to the Dublin U21 team for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

"Had I lost my life, it would have fallen under the category of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. I could easily have suffered the same fate as Cormac McAnallen and so many others.

"It was then that I decided to make the best of my situation. So I set up 'Cycle For Life.'

"Next month, myself and a group will be doing the 2015 Cycle For Life, which will pass through the 32 counties."

Last year, in an interview with Damian Lawlor of The Sunday Independent, Cormac went public with his battle with depression.

And Aware are now one of the charities that will benefit from the Cycle For Life. The others are The Irish Heart Foundation, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and The Cormac McAnallen Trust.

"I have witnessed at first hand the positive effect that speaking out about mental health has had, so we want to continue that work.

"I was lucky enough to come out of a close call with my cardiac health, and possibly even luckier to make it through a battle with depression lasting almost three years.

"So I want to use that slice of luck to help others. Our message is - Mind your heart, love your mind," states Cormac, who adds:

"The aim of the Cycle is to raise funds and awareness of these four fantastic charities, and we are asking the help of anybody who can.

"It's much more than a charity cycle. It raises awareness of physical and mental health. And a figure cannot be put on that. It saves lives."

For more details, and to please donate, go onto the Cycle For Life Facebook page.