A group of families and friends who have lost loved ones to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) are set to walk a combined 1,600 miles over eight days for CRY Ireland.
The group of 15 relatives and friends set off from Dublin Airport for the inaugural CRY Camino De Santiago Trek to raise money for screening services for families affected by SADS.
The group will be walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, also known as The Way of St James a pilgrimage route that has existed for more than a thousand years and runs from France through to Spain.
SADS is an umbrella term for the electrical heart conditions that can cause sudden cardiac death in young people, although it can happen in older people, too.
At least one young person per week dies from sudden cardiac death or Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome in Ireland.
Cardiac disease in young people is mostly caused by inherited heart disease or a birth defect. It is estimated that more than 10,000 people in Ireland carry genes for inherited heart disease, more often than not unknowingly.
Among the pilgrims will be Brendan O’Mahony from Clonmel who lost his son Conor aged 32 on July 25th, 2006. Conor had completed the Camino walk shortly before his death.
The group will complete a 107km trek in eight days raising up to €15,000 for CRY.
Cry was set up by Michael and Marie Greene who lost their teenage son Peter to the condition with the objectives of raising awareness of the condition among the public, offering support to affected families and to develop a screening programme in Ireland.
Michael Greene of CRY Ireland said: “Monies raised by the Camino Trek will go towards supporting CRY’s free screening service in Tallaght Hospital and directly helps to save lives. Funds will also go towards providing support to family members who have lost someone to SADS.”