South Wales Evening Echo – December 11th, 2000 Family grief after rugby ace, 15, dies

Grieving parents Emyr and Carole Thomas would give up everything to have their son home for Christmas.

But they know their wish won’t come true after 15 year old Christian dropped dead on his way back to the family’s home in Criegiau, Cardiff.

The rugby-mad teenager collapsed from suspected sudden death syndrome and died two hours later, despite efforts by a local nurse, ambulance crews and doctors to resuscitate him.

Mum Carole, 39, said, “if we could ask for anything for Christmas it would be to have Christian back. It’s difficult to make sense of it. You don’t think that someone so fit and healthy would collapse at the side of the road. He had no history of any major illness.”

Christian, who was a mountain bike enthusiast and the top scorer in his school’s rugby team, died on the first day of the half term holiday on 23 October.

Carole said “if there was anything we could have done we would have done it because there is nothing worse than losing a child, so now we want to make other parents aware that this can happen. We also want to get involved in raising money for research. This way his death will not have been in vain.”

The family is in contact with the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) charity to battle the heart syndrome which claims the lives of four youngsters every week.

The charity says teenagers at risk can be identified through screenings. Carole and Emyr think they should be widely available.

Doctors believe Christian’s death may be linked to a flu virus which attacked his heart or to a hereditary condition.

The family will know the result of an inquest into their son’s death in the New Year.

Christian’s many friends from Ysgol Plasmawr in Fairwater, Cardiff, have already raised £4,000 in his meory by staging a sponsored walk. The funds will be split between CRY and the British Heart Foundation.

A concert in Christian’s memory at Llandaff Cathedral has also been organised for 1 February and will feature a solo performance by his younger sister 11 year old Katie.

With permission from the South Wales Echo