Robert O’Kane

A year has gone by since our son Robert passed away, a long heartbreaking emotional year for myself, my husband and our two remaining sons.

Robert was our middle son, he had a sunny disposition was always full of laughter – fun-loving and friendly to everyone he met. Robert loved music, it makes me smile when I think of him singing at the top of his voice driving us all to distraction.

He had the knack of making people feel special and if someone was down or sad Robert would be the first to make a fuss of them.

He also had a serious side to his nature, and knew what he wanted from life. He was an intelligent boy who worked hard at his job and enjoyed meeting his friends at the weekend for a couple of drinks.

He had just returned from a two week holiday abroad with his close friends, celebrating his 20th birthday on the 1st July while he was there. On the morning of the 9th July 2008 he returned to his work as a 4th year apprentice car mechanic.

I bade him goodbye that morning as he rushed out the door at the last minute as per usual, running to catch his bus. Unbeknownst to ourselves this was the last time we would see our son alive – we received a phone call from his work mid-morning to say he had collapsed at work and could we make our way to the hospital.

When we arrived at A&E we were ushered into a side room, given no information and asked to wait. After what seemed like an eternity a doctor and two nurses entered the room and I knew by their faces Robert was gone.

Everything became a blur, we spent time with him at the hospital and the hardest thing in our life was to leave him behind at the hospital knowing he was never coming home with us again.

The post mortem revealed that the cause of his death was Sudden Adult Death Syndrome. Robert had never showed any signs or symptoms in the days leading up to his death and had been fit and healthy throughout his life.

I need not describe how difficult this past year has been without our son and I see by the many stories posted on the CRY website that there are many families like ourselves going through the same thing.

I don’t know how we would have managed without the support of our close family and friends – including Robert’s friends – this 1st year without him. We miss him dreadfully and will always struggle to come to terms with his passing. It helps to speak about Robert often and the 20 years of wonderful memories we have of him.

Robert would have been celebrating his 21st this year; thus, to mark this occasion we decided to do a 95 mile sponsored walk to raise money for CRY in his memory. Hopefully this will be the 1st of many fundraisers that will help raise money for CRY and raise awareness of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Lesley O’Kane