Mark Lynn: 'Heart hero' (8) battled bravely and leaves lasting legacy
MARK Lynn may only have been granted eight years on this earth, but he left a legacy of love to last several lifetimes.
The Ballymena boy was born with complex congenital heart disease and underwent numerous cardiac procedures, not knowing when his life would come to an end.
Three years ago he was diagnosed with heart failure and faced four open heart surgeries within three months. He defied all odds to pull through.
His last surgery was in November 2017, when doctors decided not to carry out any more operations on the brave little boy.
But no matter how hard the battles he faced, the smile never left Mark's face.
His family tell how he was always up to jokes and mischief, how he loved his music and was a "wee ladies man" as well as a loving son and brother.
And Mark made it his mission not just to live his own life to the full but to raise money and awareness to help other children in similar situations.
He loved going to school when his health permitted and when he held a 'Wear Red' day at Ballykeel PS earlier this year, the school community collected more than £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation.
The charity funds medical research into heart and circulatory disease and provides schools with the tools to train pupils in lifesaving CPR skills.
Mark was guest of honour at its new shop in Ballymena where he cut the ribbon on the store.
Last year he was named 'Young Heart Hero' at an awards ceremony held by the BHF at Belfast City Hall.
He was also a finalist in this year’s UK-wide Heart Hero Awards but tragically died just days before he was due to attend with his family last month.
Sky News presenter Kay Burley led a tribute to Mark on the night and the 200-strong audience gave him a standing ovation.
The BHF are naming the Young Heart Hero Award in 2019 after Mark in his honour.
Orla Clarke, BHF NI fundraising manager, said they were overwhelmed by his enthusiasm and passion to help other children in the face of his own illness.
“Mark was full of joy and fun and even though he had undergone numerous surgeries and was battling his own heart condition, he wanted to help other children like him by raising money," she said.
"He held fun days in his school, coffee mornings and ballots to raise money for congenital heart disease research.
“Mark achieved more in his short years than some of us do in a lifetime and he leaves a lasting legacy that will stay with me and all our team in Belfast forever."
Mark Lynn died in Birmingham Children's Hospital on September 27. He is survived by his parents Donna and Geoff and his brothers Geoff jnr, Ryan and Jordan.
:: For further information about heart and circulatory diseases or to help the British Heart Foundation see www.bhf.org.uk.