A Larne woman whose brother died of a heart condition has raised £1,200 in his memory for Chest, Heart and Stroke and a deafblind charity.
Tracy Reid’s brother Paul Samuel Hunter, who suffered from little-known heart condition polycythemia vera, died last September aged just 49 years old.
Paul, who worked at Carpetright in Newtownabbey, left behind his young sons Josh, 15, and Matthew, 17, who is deafblind.
After his death, his family and friends rallied round to organise a memorial football tournament at Wellington Rec FC to raise money for the two charities closest to the family.
Tracy told The Times: “Paul had the blood disorder polycythemia vera which affects his white and red blood cells. His blood either got too thick or it didn’t clot.
“He was on medication for a few years and had to have his spleen and pancreas removed when he was just 27.
“When he died the main artery into his heart had narrowed by 90 per cent.”
Despite his illness, Tracy, who suffers from the same condition, says that Paul’s death at such a young age still came as a “complete shock” to the family.
She explained: “It’s a rare enough disease and it affects more women in their early forties.
“I was 36 when I was diagnosed and I thought I was beginning to develop arthritis.
“With this disease you can also develop leukaemia.”
Tracy says that her sporty brother didn’t let his heart condition hold him back, making a memorial football tournament the perfect way to commemorate him.
“Paul was really into golf and five-a-side,” said Tracy.
“His death motivated me to start fundraising and over 50 men turned out to take part in the football tournament at Wellington Rec, which we followed with a tombola and raffle.”
Tracy, who works as a technician at Actavis, said that she decided to split the £1,200 raised between Chest, Heart and Stroke, which is Actavis’ nominated charity, and deaflbind charity Sense who had helped when her nephew Matthew was born with the conditions.
Tracy is now hoping to continue fundraising for Paul through an annual event.
A spokesperson for Actavis’ Corporate and Social Responsibility Group commented: “We would like to thank Tracy Reid for her generous donation to Chest Heart and Stroke, which is our chosen charity to support for the quarter.
“The monies received will greatly benefit Chest Heart and Stroke with its support groups and services, health promotion and campaigns.”