A Ballymena boy who this week lost his battle with a heart condition was “a character and was always up to mischief and jokes” his elder brother has said.
Eight-year-old Mark Lynn, a pupil at Ballykeel Primary School, was born with complex heart problems and underwent four open heart surgeries and numerous cardiac procedures in his life.
In 2015 he was diagnosed with heart failure but that didn’t stop him from campaigning for others with cardiac conditions with the British Heart Foundation NI.
His brother Geoff told the News Letter: “Mark was a character was always up to mischief and jokes, loved his music and was a real wee ladies man. He was a great son and a loving brother and had a impact in all our lives. Our family is totally devastated.”
He is survived by his mum and dad Donna and Geoff, his brothers, Geoff Jr, 25, Ryan, 21, and Jordan, six.
Mark is arriving home from Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where he passed away last Thursday, and the family home will be open on Thursday and Friday for anyone who wishes to “pay their respects to the wee man” he added.
Writing on Facebook the morning after Mark’s death, his brother said: “Last night I received the worst phone call ever, that I lost my wee brother and my side-kick. Words will never describe how I feel at the loss of him, heartbroken is an understatement.
“He was an absolute legend to me and a warrior. He has battled hospitals all his life but unfortunately this time wasn’t meant to be.”
Orla Clarke, fundraising manager for British Heart Foundation (BHF) NI, said they too were heartbroken.
“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 has held fun days in his school, coffee mornings and ballots to raise money for congenital heart disease.”
In February he was guest of honour at the opening of the Ballymena BHF charity shop.
“We were overwhelmed by his enthusiasm and passion to help other children in the face of his own illness.”
Mark was also a finalist in the UK-wide Heart Hero Awards, which he was due to attend in London on Friday night.
“It’s heartbreaking that he won’t be there but Mark has 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,” she added,
There will be services in his home, 1 Kintyre Park, on Saturday at 11.15am and at Ballykeel Presbyterian Church at noon.