The sister of a young bride to be who died suddenly last year has spoken about her death to raise awareness about silent heart conditions.
Lindsey Coulter (27) from Fivemiletown died in April after collapsing at a gym where she was exercising ahead of her wedding. The young community nurse was due to get married to her fiancé Brian Ellison last October, but died six months before her wedding day.
It is believed Lindsey died from an unknown inherited heart condition.
Every month in Northern Ireland at least one young person dies from an undiagnosed heart condition. These people, like Lindsey, are unaware that they are at risk.
British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) estimates that around 17,500 people in Northern Ireland are living with a faulty gene that puts them at high risk of a heart attack at a young age or sudden death.
Lindsey’s older sister Alison Little said the young nurse had everything to live for and was excitedly preparing for her wedding day. “Lindsey ad the wedding all planned out. The dresses bought, her flowers picked, her cake picked. She was going for hair trials and enjoying getting ready for the big day,” she said.
“She was really excited about getting married to Brian and was going to the gym three or four times a week in preparation. It was there at the gym that she collapsed on the cross-trainer and although they tried their best there was nothing anyone could do. She had no health problems and her death was a massive shock to us all.
“She should be at the beginning of her married life right now so it’s still very hard for us all to take in.”
This week the family handed over a cheque to BHF NI for £2,000 that will go towards vital heart research. They have also made a donation for a memorial bench which will be placed in St. John’s Parish Church graveyard where Lindsey is buried.
Alison said they wanted to use the money to fund heart research to save families the same heartache: “If we had known Lindsey had a heart condition maybe something could have been done to help her. The not knowing is hard for us all. We know BHF funds research into the heart conditions that take away the lives of young people and want the money raised in her memory to help others.
“We as a family were overwhelmed with the support we have been shown and the amount received from family, friends, neighbours and the local community in lieu of flowers. We are so grateful for all their support.”
Visit www.bhf.org.uk/unexpected for information.