The Portuguese Consul and the family of a man who died suddenly visited the Portadown British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) shop to hand over money raised in his memory.
Rui Jorge Vieira Das Neves Coelho died suddenly in February after a heart attack at the age of just 45.
The Portuguese man had been living in Northern Ireland for 15 years and after his death the local Portuguese community in Portadown, Dungannon and Cookstown raised the money to pay funeral expenses.
Mr Coelho’s daughter Michelle Sophie Afonso Coelho joined Portuguese Consul for Northern Ireland Daniel Gouveia at her local BHF shop in Portadown to hand over £280 left over from the funeral expenses to the heart research charity and hear about the charity’s lifesaving work.
The money raised will support the charity’s work in Northern Ireland including investing almost £2.9 million into research at Queen’s University, Belfast. Mr Gouveia said the local community wanted to raise money in Rui’s memory. He said: “The whole community was shocked by Rui’s death from a heart attack at such a young age. He had been in Northern Ireland for a number of years and loved the people here.
“After his death we raised money to help pay for his funeral costs and then the money left from that we are handing over to the BHF. We want to fund research that will help prevent other families suffering like the Coelho family are suffering now.”
Head of BHF NI Jayne Murray said: “We want to thank the Coelho family and the wider Portuguese community for their generosity. It was an honour to meet the Portuguese Consul today and thank him personally for his support and the support of his community.”
“Every day cardiovascular disease kills 10 people in Northern Ireland. That’s every single day ten families are facing the shock and devastation of losing their son, daughter, husband or wife. It tears people like Rui away from their families when he had so much to live for.
“Thanks to the public’s kind support, BHF-funded researchers have made major discoveries in these frightening heart conditions but we urgently need to fund more research to better understand these heart conditions, make more discoveries, develop new treatments and save more lives.”
To more information on how to fundraise for BHF NI contact Órla Clarke on 07714 069129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.