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Corrs and broader community get behind Heartbeats for Xav campaign

Nearly one year ago, Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Patrick O’Grady suffered the tragic loss of his son, Xavier. He and his family are determined that Xavier has a meaningful legacy — and have already raised over $800,000.

user iconJerome Doraisamy 03 July 2023 Big Law
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Editor’s note: This story may be distressing for some readers. Discretion is advised.

In October of last year, Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner Patrick O’Grady (pictured) and his family suffered a tragic loss: his son, Xavier, died from sudden cardiac arrest at the finish line of the Melbourne half marathon. Now, the family — as well as an army of supporters, including from the legal profession — is championing a campaign in his honour.

Xavier O’Grady was, the Heartbeats for Xav campaign noted, an extremely fit young man who had just completed a season of colts rugby and had already, earlier in 2022, run a half marathon in Victoria.


His autopsy declared the cause of death to be “unascertainable”, leaving his family struggling to understand how and why his death could have occurred.

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Mr O’Grady said: “The death of my son was and is absolutely heartbreaking. My family and I are determined that Xavier will leave a meaningful legacy.”

“This was the catalyst for us launching our Heartbeats for Xav fundraising campaign. The funds raised will hopefully save others from having to go through the heartbreak that my family is experiencing.”

As the campaign website details, around 30,000 Australians die from sudden cardiac death annually, including four Australians aged between 15 and 35 every week.

To honour Xavier, his family decided to raise funds for the research conducted by Professor Chris Semsarian, whose work explores how and why fit young persons, particularly men, experience and die from sudden cardiac arrest.

Mr O’Grady noted: “Our hope is that the research that is able to be undertaken by Professor Semsarian from the funds we raise will save other families from having to experience a similar tragedy.”

Mr O’Grady — alongside his daughter, Gabriella (who also works at Corrs), and his wife, Alison, and other daughter, Annaliese — are all participating in events at the Gold Coast Marathon weekend in Xavier’s honour as part of the fundraising campaign.

They are not alone: a team of 322 people — including other runners from Corrs, as well as others in the community, will run or walk with Xavier’s name on their bibs.

Initially, the campaign hoped to raise $250,000. This target was met in less than a week.

By the three-week mark, the campaign had garnered more than $450,000. As it currently stands, over $830,000 has been raised.

“We have received a huge amount of support from the wider legal community and are so grateful for that support. Thank you to all who have supported our campaign,” Mr O’Grady concluded.

To learn more about the Heartbeats for Xav campaign, click here.