I would like to share my story about my brother, Aaron Cushnan.
Aaron had just turned 18 on the 18th January 2011. He had so much going for him. He was born with severe learning difficulties and epilepsy and was diagnosed at a young age with autism; but he overcame everything that the doctors told us he wouldn’t be able to do. They told us he would never be able to walk, talk or do anything for himself. He talked, a lot! He could walk and run and could do everything for himself.
At the age of just 14 Aaron started to develop pains in his chest and as he grew these got worse. He was back and forward to hospital all the time. Doctors told my mummy that it was due to him being so tall. At the age of 17 finally we had an answer! Aaron had a defect in his heart and would need a pacemaker fitted. “Only old people got these” was my first thought, but we were reassured that this is what Aaron needed to give him a better quality of life – so he could live his life as normal, grow old and have a family of his own.
The morning in September finally came and away Aaron went with my mum and dad to have his pacemaker fitted. Everything seemed to be going well until one day we noticed the battery pack had come out and was resting in his arm, so once again in December back in he went to have it put back in the right place. We enjoyed Christmas as a family and in January Aaron had recovered well and had started going back into college. It was his 18th birthday on the 18th of January so we set about organising a party in my mum’s house for it, and he loved it! Everything was going well.
9 days later on the 27th January 2011 my life and the rest of my family’s lives changed forever. I got a phone call telling me that Aaron had had a heart attack! I kept thinking I was dreaming – he was too young to have a heart attack; again, only old people have heart attacks!
When I arrived at my mum’s, I wasn’t expecting what I saw. My brother there lifeless, he had died. I couldn’t believe it and still to this day I find it very hard to believe. We later found out that there was nothing anybody could have done to save my brother.
I think about Aaron every day and I miss him more and more with each day that passes. He has a beautiful nephew he never got to meet, who knows all about his big uncle and loves him so much! Aaron will always live on in all our hearts.