The family of a young Fivemiletown woman who was suddenly lost to a silent heart condition six months before her wedding day, have spoken out in a bid to raise awareness.
Lindsey Coulter was just 27 when she died in April 2016, after collapsing at a gym where she was exercising ahead of her big day.
The young community nurse was to marry her fiance Brian Ellison last October, but instead her life was tragically cut short by an unknown inherited heart condition.
But Lindsey is not alone, as every month in Northern Ireland at least one young person dies from an undiagnosed heart condition.
Them, like Lindsey, were unaware they were at risk.
And it is because of this, Lindsey’s family has raised £2,000 to fund vital heart research that they hope will save other families from 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,” said her older sister Alison.
“We know British Heart Foundation 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.”
A memorial bench which will also be placed in St John’s Parish Church graveyard where Lindsey is buried.
Undetected heart conditions can be deadly and devastate families, often taking away loved ones without warning.
British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) estimates that around 17,500 people here are living with a faulty gene that puts them at high risk of a heart attack or sudden death at a young age.
Lindsey’s older sister Alison Little said the young nurse had everything to live for and was excitedly preparing for her wedding day: “Lindsey was due to get married on 14 October last year. She had 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.”
She also thanked the community for its support during their difficult time.
“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,” she added.
Thanking the Coulter family and friends for their generosity after Lindsey’s death, Jayne Murray, Head of BHF NI said: “One young person in Northern Ireland dies every month from a heart condition they didn’t know they had.
“We need to fund more heart research so no family is deprived of their much loved daughter, sister, auntie and fiancee as Lindsey’s were.
“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.”
For more information and advice about inherited heart conditions and to support the BHF to fund more research to end the devastation of heart disease visit www.bhf.org.uk/unexpected