Family fight silent killer

Maclean teenager Jermaine King passed away last year just months after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy – a deadly heart disease.
Maclean teenager Jermaine King passed away last year just months after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy – a deadly heart disease. Contributed

IT WAS so silent, too silent.

And for his parents Dewey and Lesley King and big brother James, it was "absolutely terrifying."

Two weeks after celebrating his 18th birthday in February 2011, Maclean teenager Jermaine King was diagnosed as having an enlarged heart.

Four months later he was transferred to St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney where specialists diagnosed him with cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle.

He was immediately placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant.

But by September Jermaine was gone and another promising life had been claimed by this silent killer.

Describing the loss of her youngest boy as "something I don't think I will ever get over", Jermaine's mum Lesley is honouring his memory by hosting an inaugural fundraiser in support of the Heart Foundation on January 29.

Inspired by the courage Jermaine showed during his final months, the Kings would like to help raise awareness of heart disease in young people throughout the Clarence Valley.

"We had no prior knowledge of Jermaine's condition and when he passed away we knew we needed to educate the rest of our community about heart disease," Lesley said.

"Jermaine had been suffering from a cold he couldn't brush off for months before he went to the doctors and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.

"Dewey and I hugged and prayed our boy would receive a heart transplant, but it was absolutely terrifying how quickly the disease took him from us.

"We feel strongly about the health and wellbeing of local youths, which is why we want to educate them about the silent killer which is heart disease."

The Jermaine King Memorial Fundraiser will be held at the Maclean Bowling Club on Sunday, January 29 from 2pm-6pm.

Gold Coast Titans player Luke Douglas will be a special guest. Tickets cost $40, dinner included, and can be booked on 6645 3711.

All proceeds from the evening will go directly to the Heart Foundation.


Deadly heart disease

  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • One Australian dies from heart disease every 23 minutes.
  • 800,000 Australians are affected by heart disease.

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Topics:  heart disease

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