Danielle’s fiancée Andy Key collapsed at their Longridge home on January 15. The much loved partner, dad, son and brother, died of a hidden heart condition. The couple had been together 11 years and had been teenage sweethearts. Their son Arlo was born two years ago and they were looking forward to marrying in August after their wedding, booked for last year, had to be postponed due to the pandemic.
Danielle, 29, recalled “There was absolutely no warning. In the 11 years I’ve known him he had one day off sick. He was never poorly either. Even when I had coronavirus in June he didn’t catch it off me. He wasn’t an ill person. He was just a wonderful partner, kind and hard working…I couldn’t understand how he could have died. It’s still a bit surreal.”
Danielle has found help and support through the charity CRY, who aim to raise awareness of Cardiac Risk in the Young. Now she and Andy’s family and friends have pledged to do all they can to raise funds for and awareness of CRY in the hope it helps prevent others facing the heartbreak and loss which they are suffering.
Follow up tests have shown his heart was structurally sound. CRY, which arranged additional testing of his heart, helped explain the causes of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) and advised his family to get tested to see if any of them might have an inherited heart condition.
Danielle, a part time hospital administrator, said she had heard of sudden death in infancy, but knew little about how young adults could be affected. She said: “CRY explained what it meant. They sent us leaflets, took calls and when we email them they get back to us. Nothing is too much trouble – not just for me but for all Andy’s parents and siblings. I didn’t know that it could be hereditary. Again it was CRY pointed this out…It still shocks me that a healthy person’s heart can just stop beating with no warning signs.”
CRY can provide screening tests for young people aged 14 -35 and in the future Danielle and family hope to fundraise to help finance such tests and further research and increase knowledge of the service.
Andy’s mother Ann-Marie Key, a retired GP secretary, said: “Andrew was just a loving, lovely son. He was our first born.We knew he had a lot of friends and was well liked but until this awful day we didn’t know (he had) quite so many. He was such a lovely lad with all his life in front of him and a happy family. They had all their future ahead of them, just snatched away. It’s awful…he’s just left a massive huge hole in our lives.” Noting that up to 12 young people under 35 die each week in the UK from sudden arrythmic death, Ann-Marie said: “We’re one of a lot of families affected by it. Hopefully that number will be reduced in the future.”
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