Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke
Stephen’s Story

Stephen-for-web

In the other stories we talk a lot about the effects on the immediate family but the wider family circle can be affected too. Stephen McBrien comes from a large family and was very close to his cousin Orla. In fact, he says she was like a sister to him and he loved spending time with her and her 6 year old daughter, Rachel.

But on the 28th of May this year, Orla passed away.

OrlaPS-for-web

No one had any idea that she had an underlying heart condition. No idea at all. So her death came as a complete shock to her family. Their only comfort was that it looked like she died instantly and so will never have known what was happening to her. Her daughter Rachel now lives with her granny and talks a lot about her mummy being in heaven with the angels.

The family are heartbroken and after Orla’s death, Stephen wanted to do something positive in her memory. He wanted to raise awareness of the type of congenital heart disease Orla had, as well as promoting fitness. Stephen describes himself as no sportsman and not even that fit, but despite that, and having a broken foot, Stephen has just completed 4 marathons in 4 weeks in aid of Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke.

Stephen, Rachel and the rest of the family will never be able to get Orla back but they hope that understanding the causes of congenital heart disease will mean that other families don’t have to go through what they have been through this year.

Please support the Baby Hearts Appeal with a donation today. Together, we can give babies the healthy hearts they deserve – and save many, many lives.

Thank you.

If you would like to support us, you can set up a small, regular monthly gift or give us a donation today.

To help our Babies’ Hearts Appeal with a regular monthly gift, please click here to set up a direct debit.

If you would like to make a donation today, please click on the yellow Donate button.

£25 could help pay towards the recruitment of a family for the research study.

£50 could help cover the costs of the cardiac nurses’ support for the study for one week.

£250 could help cover the costs of the cardiac nurses’ support for the study for one month.

£1000 could help pay for the Baby Heart’s Study for one week.

£5,000 could help pay for the Baby Heart’s Study for one month.




If you would like more information about how you can support this appeal, please e–mail us on

mail@nichs.org.uk or call us 028 9032 0184.