My name is Peter Teale, I live in Cheslyn Hay near Walsall, West Midlands. Our lives changed forever on the 15 September 2009 – this is the day that my eldest daughter Zoe died suddenly in her sleep.
Zoe was only 23 years old when she died. She worked as a fitness instructor and was fit and healthy prior to her death.
As far as the family are aware there have been no cases of sudden death or cardiac problems in the young in either of our families.
Zoe spent the day before her death with her sister; and the evening laughing and joking around with her family and best friend Ben. We were all unaware of the devastation that was to come; she didn’t have any signs or symptoms of any illness. Zoe died suddenly in her sleep that evening.
Our youngest daughter Meghan (22yrs) found her sister dead in bed.
The family were only made aware of “SADS” – sudden adult death syndrome – after Zoe’s death. We also learnt that tragically 12 young lives are lost each week in the UK as a result of this.
It was more distressing to learn that lives could be saved if young people were screened with a simple ECG scan. This could detect conditions and allow them to be treated.
With SADS you don’t have the opportunity to pray for a child’s survival, have the chance to say goodbye or even be there with them to hold their hand as they pass away.
They are taken away from you suddenly with no prior warning; the whole family have been left in extreme shock as well as total disbelief and devastation.
In Zoe’s memory we are raising money for CRY to fund the cost of ECG screening sessions for young adults throughout the West Midlands. This will help save lives and prevent other families going through this tragedy.
Zoe’s heart was sent to Dr Mary Sheppard in London for examination and the family have all had to be tested as it was thought that Zoe died of an inherited heart condition.
It wasn’t until after Zoe’s death that we heard about SADS or CRY. We have been so glad that we researched the internet and found CRY’s details. There have been many times during the past months when we have wondered how people coped or managed in the past, not knowing or understanding why their children have died. CRY have helped provide this information along with support which has helped my entire family cope through a very difficult time.
I have been asked to be a Representative for CRY – I am more than willing to do this as it helps others and I look forward to supporting CRY in the great work that they do, helping to save lives.
If you would like to contact one of our Representatives or a Bereavement Supporter please call the CRY office at 01737 363222 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will put you in touch with someone who may be able to help you.