A COMMUNITY still shattered by the sudden death of 16-year-old Di-Erin Weatherall has found a way to honour her memory and raise awareness of the heart condition that claimed her life.
Cardiff High School hosted a memorial league tag gala day on Tuesday in honour of the "bright and bubbly" student who collapsed, and later died, while playing rugby league in July.
Di-Erin had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or an enlarged heart muscle.
In the two months since her death, her younger sister, Shinnikah, and baby brother, Adam, have also been diagnosed.
We don't want another family to have to go through what we are going through.Sandra Weatherall, Di-Erin's mother
The aim of the gala day was to raise money to support the family, and help them buy a personal defibrillator for Di-Erin's younger siblings.
"We are hoping to set up a foundation in order to help provide defibrillators to different organisations," Di-Erin's mother, Sandra Weatherall said. "Life is a struggle at the moment. It has been hard. Really hard.
"Di-Erin didn't have any symptoms. We want people to know about this. You can be fit and healthy. Here one minute, and gone the next.
"We don't want another family to have to go through what we are going through."
The family was "overwhelmed" and grateful for the school's support.
"It is great to see all the kids smiling and having fun," Ms Weatherall said.
Adam McCarthy, Di-Erin's father, said his daughter's death had left a "big hole" in their lives.
"We are still going through all the 'firsts'. The first Father's Day without her. Her brother's first birthday, our first Christmas without her," he said. "We hope that raising awareness with our story might help save someone else from all of this."
Students from five schools across Newcastle and Lake Macquarie competed in the gala day at Cardiff Oval.
For 13-year-old Shinnikah, running out onto the field with her team on Tuesday was bittersweet.
It was the first time since her sister's death - and her own subsequent diagnosis - that she had played any sport. With her strapped wrist bearing her sister's nickname, Di-Di, she felt nervous, but also proud.
"I think she would have loved this," Shinnikah said.
Cardiff High plans to make the Di-Erin Weatherall Memorial League Tag Gala Day an annual event.
Organiser, University of Newcastle teaching student Elisha McDermott, is completing a placement at Cardiff High School. She saw the gala day as an opportunity to bring a grieving community together through sport.
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