Ballymena mum takes on charity run for fourth year in memory of much-loved Dad
Selina McClure is busy pounding the pavements in preparation for local charity Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s (NICHS) Red Dress Fun Run 2023.
Selina is running in memory of her beloved father, William McMordie, who sadly passed away suddenly in June 2019 from a heart attack.
The Red Dress Fun Run, supported by MACE and Musgrave MarketPlace, is a five-kilometre run or walk event which aims to raise funds for Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s care and prevention services and research as well as awareness of heart disease. This will be Selina’s fourth time taking on the five-kilometre run or walk event in William’s memory.
“Dad was a very fit man who was full of life. He worked hard as a self-employed flooring contractor. He worked in his garden most days. He was always on the go, always doing things for others, so his passing came as a complete shock and it has been such a tremendous loss to our entire family.”
Recalling the night William passed away Selina says:
“I had been away at a dance festival with my daughter all day. Mum was with us too and we didn’t get back until late. I was leaving Mum home but, because of the time, I didn’t go into the house. I waited until Mum got inside and said, ‘Tell Dad Connie will show him her trophies tomorrow’. I went on home but when I arrived my husband was waiting at the front door. He told me something had happened to Dad and we raced back to the house.
“When we arrived two ambulances were there, and the paramedics were trying to resuscitate Dad. Dad had gone into the back garden to check on his tomato plants and had a massive heart attack. Mum had gone out into the garden to look for Dad after she arrived home and sadly she found him.
“My sister Andrea was at the house too, and she had been giving Dad CPR before the ambulances arrived. The paramedics tried for a long time to bring Dad back. I remember crying and saying, ‘You’ve got to bring him back.’ They did all they could, but they just couldn’t save him. It was so traumatic for us all.”
The time following William’s passing was hard for the whole family as Selina explains:
“Afterwards our focus was on Mum and making sure she was ok. My sister and I stayed with her for three weeks after Dad passed away.
“Everyone found it really difficult - Mum, Andrea, our husbands, our kids. The grandchildren had a great bond with Dad, he was brilliant with them, and it was so hard for them. I felt like I had to be strong and keep going for everyone, but I needed to do something to look after my mental health. That’s when I started running.”
It was shortly afterwards that Selina became aware of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke’s Red Dress Fun Run. Selina said:
“I came across an ad for the Red Dress Fun Run on Facebook and it looked like a great event to get involved with. We had raised money for the charity through donations in lieu of flowers at Dad’s funeral so it felt like the right next step in supporting NICHS. I’d never done a race or charity run in my life but that’s where I got the bug for running and I’ve been taking part ever since.”
This year Selina’s participation in the event is even more poignant after her mum also suffered a heart attack in August 2022.
“I was on the phone to Mum after getting back from a trip away and she said, ‘I think I’m having a heart attack’.
“I was about to phone an ambulance, but Andrea was actually out in the car, so I rang her, and she drove out to Mum’s house. She took Mum to Antrim Area Hospital where, after some tests, they confirmed Mum had had a heart attack.
“It was a horrendous time and just brought back everything that had happened with Dad. I am so lucky to have Andrea as my sister. She really is the best, I just couldn’t be without her!"
“Mum needed surgery to have stents fitted and during the surgery they discovered scarring on her heart which indicated she’d had heart attacks previously. Mum had been experiencing chest discomfort at times, but she put it down to indigestion and other things. She didn’t think it was symptomatic of a heart attack, and neither did we.
"That’s why supporting Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke and the Red Dress Fun Run is so important to me and my family. We want to help raise awareness of heart conditions and to encourage people to get checked out if they feel something isn’t quite right. February is actually Heart Month so it’s the perfect time to try and raise awareness.
“We also want to raise funds to help support the charity to continue with the vital work they do throughout Northern Ireland. We have raised £4,502 for NICHS over the past few years and we are hoping to add to this with this year’s Red Dress Fun Run.”
Selina is looking forward to the event, adding;
“This year my husband, son and niece are running with me and Andrea and my daughter are going to walk the route together with our dog. It’s great we can all take part.
“Thankfully Mum has recovered from her surgery in the summer and is doing well. We will use this year’s Red Dress Fun Run to celebrate that as well as remember Dad- it will be a special day."
2022’s Red Dress Run saw over 500 participants turn Stormont into a sea of red as they walked, ran, skipped and wheeled 5k across the estate, raising a staggering £50,000. This year, the event takes place once again at Stormont Estate, however the virtual element introduced due to previous COVID-19 restrictions remains, allowing people who can’t make it to the main event to complete 5K during the month of February.
Tara Currie, NICHS Events & Marketing Manager is urging family members of every generation, age and ability to sign up saying:
“Sadly, four people in Northern Ireland die every day from heart disease, and coronary heart disease is the biggest single cause of premature deaths of under 75s.
“So please come join us on Sunday 26th February at Stormont Estate, or if you can’t make the live event, you can support us by doing 5k your way any day, or over days, in February. Dress red, wear your heart on your sleeve to remember a loved one and together we can help rebuild thousands of lives and make a lasting change towards heart health in Northern Ireland. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun - even the family pooch!”
The charity will once again partner with MACE for 2023 and are delighted to welcome sister company Musgrave MarketPlace which will also support the event.
Diane Anthony from Musgrave says:
“Mace and Musgrave MarketPlace are both backing NICHS’s call for people to dress in red and wear their heart on their sleeve at this year’s event, which is set to be fantastic. Whether you’re taking part in memory of someone you have lost to heart disease, celebrating someone who is living with a heart condition, or to prevent heart disease happening to someone in the future – sign up and join us to support this worthy cause!”
If you have been inspired to step up to the challenge by Selina’s story you can sign up to the Red Dress Fun Run at www.nichs.org.uk/RedDressFunRun
Primary school pupils are also invited to join in by hosting their own fun run anytime this February.
A Each school that takes part will receive a certificate of thanks to show how much they raised and there is an opportunity to win some fantastic prizes. You can find out more about getting your primary school involved at www.nichs.org.uk/PSRedDressFunRun