Mike McNamara – Nottinghamshire

Like all Cry Representatives my knowledge and involvement with the charity were born out of tragedy. In our case the sudden death of our younger son, Simon in July 2008 at the age of only 25 years while on holiday with his close friends in Croatia. One minute he was there, the next he had gone. Even eight years on we still do not know the precise ‘trigger’ which made Simon’s heart go into a massive arrhythmia attack, from which he never recovered.

That awful telephone call began a period of time for all the family which, even today is in turn both sharp yet very hazy in the memory. As many CRY representative colleagues state, time and time again, you really don’t know how you are going to get through each day, let alone tomorrow and the next day. But you do – for yourself, your spouse and in our case for our other two, older children – whom you know are suffering equally as much as are you.

Cardiac Risk in the Young has played a major role in helping our family understand what happened to Simon and why. CRY also ensured that we were all medically tested thoroughly by the NHS soon afterwards, for any genetic causation. Now, most importantly, we understand how we can best guard against anything similar happening to our two wonderful Grandchildren as they grow up. The other families we have met at CRY bereavement and other events, have demonstrated the inner strength and resolve of so many people, who like us, are having to live their lives without a much-loved child.

We have found CRY to be a well run, caring charity whose activities cover funding vital research work; running a UK-wide screening programme; much needed bereavement counselling; raising public awareness; ensuring publicity and finally governmental lobbying. Nearer to home our daughter helped with the production of a ‘siblings’ pamphlet and has now qualified as a volunteer Cry Counsellor for siblings, after an intensive two year programme. Our son and his family have helped raise funds and awareness of CRY too, often through many sponsored rugby and cricket matches. We have together organised many big (and small) fund raising events; many of Simon’s friends have run marathons; some have climbed mountains; all have been wonderful in their support of our family.

My wife Freda and I are more than happy to be contacted about CRY and it’s work and as best we can, help other families in the East Midlands should such a dreadful event happen to them.