Losing her teenage son to sudden heart failure carved a huge hole in Mary Abraham’s life. Determined to stop others suffering the same fate, she dedicated herself to raising money for heart scanners for the city. Mary was presented with a Local Hero Award by Sainsburys Chairman Sir George Bull in recognition of her fundraising for Cardiac Risk in the Young.
Mary’s son, Philip, died in his sleep when he was just 16, from an undiagnosed cardiac condition.
The teenager from Bitterne, Southampton, had been perfectly fit and healthy, with no doctors notes to speak of, but had been suffering from an underlying heart defect equivalent to a ticking time bomb.
“We never knew for sure what it was that killed Philip,” said Mary, “It was just a cardiac death. On his death certificate they put it was the rhythm of his heart not working properly.
“Sometimes the coroner can’t find a reason. They put it down to natural causes.
“Philip died in his sleep, but we never knew there was anything wrong with him. He had never been ill.”
The memory of her son’s death has been brought back to Mary this month, when news of a talented Hampshire rugby player who had died in his sleep hit the headlines.
Dan Mabey, 20, played for Trojans RFC in Southampton and was looking forward to a career in commercial diving.
An inquest is to be held at a later date as it is still unclear what caused the youngster’s death.
After Philip’s death in 1995 Mary and her family were numb from the shock.
In 1999, Mary, who works for Sainsbury’s in Hedge End, made contact with Cardiac Risk in the Young and began to work on fundraising ideas and has gone on to raise thousands of pounds for CRY funding two heart scanners for the city.
Mary’s next project will be to arrange for heart screening at local clubs for youngsters in the city.