Ciara Agnew

Ciara Agnew age 14 - hours before she died - webMy sister Ciara was full of life. She was two years younger than me. Growing up we had the usual fall outs sisters have but as we reached our teenage years we became more than sisters, she was my best friend. You would never see one of us without seeing the other one which people still comment on.

In our younger days, Ciara was the quiet sister whilst I was more confident and outgoing but as we grew up the tables turned and she became the boisterous one! We had the same interests and the same sense of humour. I was never good with managing money and she was always there giving me her last fiver. She was the kindest, most selfless person I have known.

I will never forget the day my life changed. I was at home from school and we received the phone call from Ciara’s friend Kelly to say she had collapsed on the bus on the way home from school. It was a Friday and we were meant to be going to the cinema that night. It was February and at four o’clock it was getting dark. I went to the bus with my Dad and ended up sat in an ambulance for two hours whilst paramedics worked on her tirelessly. All of Ciara’s school friends and their families were there too. The bus and two ambulances were pulled in on a main road at rush hour. People were gathered everywhere praying. It was a living nightmare. I remember my Daddy holding on to the front of the bus praying. I remember a priest coming over to me and I was so angry with him, seeing him there confirmed my worst fears. I actually told him to go home.

us2At ten past 6, two hours later, we were given the most awful news, although, either sisterly instinct or my gut told me at 4 o’clock when the phone call came that it would not be good. Ciara had died. She was a healthy 14 year old with no history of sickness, we were never sick children and I can count on my hands the amount of times we even visited GP’s for antibiotics.

We never found out a cause for Ciara’s death even after two post mortems and heart examinations in London. The doctors were at a loss. I have struggled to accept what happened to my sister. To lose her was one thing but to have no reason and no closure is torturous. I have developed panic attacks which I think are as a result of years of not knowing along with her loss and it has taken me over 10 years to feel able to speak to someone about her death and to hopefully find peace.

I miss her every day. I miss her future and our future together. She never got to meet my little boy and that breaks my heart. SADS is horrendous and I hope someday, medicine is able to stop this happening completely.

Colette McCann