My partner Phil Austin, nephew Chris Lane and his friend Dave Williams ran the Cardiff half marathon in October 2007 to raise money for CRY.
My cousin Keith Newton died suddenly in 1985 at the age of 22 after stepping out of the bath. The cause of Keith’s death was recorded as “Viral Pneumonia”. His son was 3 weeks old.
Eight years later on 14th October 1993, my brother Howard English age 32, collapsed and died during rugby training. The cause of Howard’s death was recorded as “Floppy Mitral Valve Disease”. He left his wife Stephanie and three children; Sebastian, 5, Sabrina, 3, and Titus, 14 months.
It was only after Howard’s son, my nephew Sebastian, died during a rugby match on 15th February 2004 at the age of 15 that the true cause of all three deaths became apparent. They had all died as a result of ARVC – Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy.
We now know the gene causing this condition has been present in at least three generations of our family and it is desperately sad to think that we had to lose three wonderful people before this was identified.
This is why CRY’s work in raising awareness of sudden cardiac deaths in young people among both the general public and the medical profession is so important, so that other families do not have to endure the heartbreak that we have.
The boys did so well in the half marathon, which they ran, somewhat poignantly, on the 14th anniversary of Howard’s death. Phil, at the grand age of 50 completed his first distance run in a time of 2 hours 20 minutes. Chris, who had also never run a half marathon before completed the course in 1 hour 40 minutes; and Dave finished in 1 hour 45 minutes. They raised £2200 for CRY and the Sebastian English Memorial Fund.
Well done boys! I suppose I’ll have to do it next time too….