Pete died suddenly on 13 October 2004. The shock, and despair his family, girlfriend and close friends feel cannot be expressed fully in words.
Pete was an outgoing and lively 27year old who lived his life to the full. He was a ‘natural’ at most sports and extremely fit. A black belt in Tae Kwon Do, he also played football and was a regular at the gym where he thoroughly enjoyed weight lifting. In 2003 he completed the Stroud half marathon and also came third in the Tae Kwon Do British Championships held up in Birmingham. There was no sport Pete didn’t enjoy and had recently become skilled at snowboarding and climbing.
For several weeks leading up to Pete’s death he was experiencing spells of dizziness, especially when he was training at the gym. Over a number of years he had also experienced the odd heart palpitation or two, some lasting for just a short time, and some lasting longer. With never a day’s sickness in his life, he unfortunately ignored these warning signs until it was too late. The evening before he died he went to the gym as usual, following which he telephoned his girlfriend Becky to say he was experiencing heart ‘flutters’, dizziness and had a ‘burning’ throat.
Pete was found dead the next morning lying at the bottom of his bed as if he was asleep. As a family, we ask ourselves ‘WHY’.
Why did such a loving and fit son/brother pass away at such a young age?
Why were we not at his side when he probably needed us most?
Why did he not visit his GP?
We found out about CRY shortly after Pete died, and read about all of the other young lives that have been lost in such a similar way. The contact we have received from the team has helped us to stay sane. We waited six weeks for tests to be completed – all came back clear so we will never really know why and how Pete died.
All the symptoms point to his heart but we are told it is difficult to test for heart defects once a person has died. Now that Pete had gone, our lives are on hold. We are unsure of how we will go on, and what to do now. Our only focus is to ensure Pete didn’t die in vain. We can’t help questioning ‘What if we knew about SADS and it’s symptoms? We would have made him go to the Doctors.’ It seems that even a majority of the Medical Profession are unaware of it though. We will never be able to bring him back, but we can hopefully help to save others by making them more aware of SADS, working with CRY and helping to get the correct procedures in place for such deaths.
Fundraising and awareness has already started. Pete’s brother Andy runs a Tae Kwon do club, and has access to 50 Instructors in the Southwest so is contacting them, Pete’s girlfriend Becky works in PR and has a lot of contacts in the Bristol area, and Andy’s girlfriend is a Personal Trainer in Gloucestershire. Together with Pete’s mum and dad, we will be spreading the word and raising as much as we can.