Rory Hegarty was just a month short of his 17th birthday when he passed away suddenly in his sleep in 2009. The cause was Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, more commonly known as SADS.

Since then, his friends and family have organised annual fundraising events to support the Mater’s Family Heart Screening Clinic, which tests families for inherited cardiac conditions such as SADS and Long QT Syndrome – both potentially fatal if left undetected.

With one person in Ireland passing away from SADS each week, the service is essential to ensure more families don’t suffer the pain of losing a loved one.

Recently, Cian Hogan, from Rathfarnham, Dublin, along with friends Ciaran McHugh and Aoife Gray, presented a cheque for €14,434 to the Mater Foundation, and the funds will go towards supporting family heart screening in the Mater Hospital, which last year began testing children as young as 8 years of age.

The money was raised from the Rory Hegarty Memorial Fight Night, a charity ‘white-collar boxing’ event held on Friday 3rd March in Club 92, Leopardstown, in memory of Rory.

On the night, 34 amateur fighters took to the ring to rumble for Rory. A group of his friends began intensive training six weeks before the event and by the time they entered the ring they were well-prepared for the intensive bouts.

“It was very important to us to support family heart screening in memory of our friend Rory. The Family Heart Screening Clinic at the Mater does incredible, lifesaving work and we hope our efforts will spare other families the pain of losing a loved one. We are still amazed with the support we received from Day 1, and friends and local businesses were more than generous with donations and giving us a hand. It was a real testament to how special Rory was to everyone,” said Cian.

An outstanding crowd of over 700 people arrived at Club 92, Leopardstown to show their support.  Together, they were each part of a special event for a special person and raised an incredible amount of money.

Since 2007, the Family Heart Screening Clinic has screened almost 9,000 people, saving hundreds of lives in the process. The clinic is almost entirely supported by the Mater Foundation and receives limited government funding.

“What Cian and his friends have done is truly amazing,” said Tom Hickey, Head of Fundraising at the Mater Foundation.

“Family heart screening at the Mater has saved hundreds of lives since it began its work 10 years ago. This fundraiser showed the wonderful strength of support for Rory’s friends and family, but also a determination to ensure other families never have to lose those closest and dearest to them.”

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