On Sunday May 8th, 2016, at 6.35am, my Husband and I were woken by a knock at the door – it was the police! I was given the worst news possible. I was told my 24-year-old daughter Dani had suddenly passed away. I still hear these words over and over in my head – these words will haunt me forever. Suddenly, and with no warning at all, her heart stopped beating. There was no indication that this tragedy was about to strike, and it was a massive shock to everyone. None of us could understand it and we were all struggling to come to terms with it as a family. There were so many emotions and questions. How could this be possible? How can a 24-year-old just slip away with no warning? We never even got to say goodbye! I was chatting to her on Facebook the day before, and only saw her 2 days ago. I’d planned to see her tomorrow to choose paint to decorate her flat. She was laughing the other day about being a quarter of a century in 2 months’ time. How can I be hearing she’s passed away? I kept thinking ‘why Dani?’
We were shocked to find out the cause of her death was sudden cardiac death. I didn’t know anything about this, and neither did my family; but it’s more common than you would ever think. Every week in the UK around 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. We found out that due to how sudden it was, thankfully; she felt no pain and was completely unaware of anything as she was asleep when it happened. But we also found out from a charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young; that had she had her heart screened, it would have picked up an issue and something could have been done for her. The CRY charity has supported me so much and with their aims of working to help reduce sudden cardiac deaths in young people, promoting heart screening programmes and funding medical research, I hope that more and more young people can be screened so they don’t lose their lives needlessly. It’s been important to me and the family that we raised money for this charity not only so we can tell people about sudden deaths in young people, but most of all to make sure everyone remembers Dani and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives. Enough money has been raised to screen 63 people in July 2019 in her memory, and it’s thanks to the generous donations of various events/fundraisers since 2017 that this is possible. If you knew Dani, you’d know she was a kind person who never had a bad word to say about anyone. She is missed so much and for me it’s important to talk about her always and to highlight this little-known condition and the charity too. Dani will never be forgotten and by raising awareness and doing the screening day in July, hopefully less families will have to go through what we have.