Stephen Westley

Stephen was just 34 when he was taken from me by this silent killer.

He had woken up early on Saturday 18th March 2006, being sick. He went to the chemist to ask for something to help him as he was eager to go and get my Mothers Day present.

I remember him laughing when I said I wanted drawer/cupboard handles to complete my new kitchen. I needed 13 and between my five children this is what I had asked for.

He collapsed whilst out and the chemist rang for an ambulance. I have never bought the final two handles – I just cannot, because I know Stephen wanted to get them.

He was rushed to hospital where he was diagnosed as having gastroenteritis and he was given an injection and advised to lie down for half an hour to let it work.

After a while he appeared at the cubicle door telling the nurse that he had a throbbing headache, and then he collapsed again. They were the last words he spoke.

Obviously we were left devastated and the hardest thing was the seven month wait for a cause – then to be told ‘unascertained’ but pointing to SADS.

I was like a zombie – just existing each day and going through the motions – until I came upon the idea to fundraise for CRY. This would mean Stephen would not have died in vain, if I could help other young people survive this silent killer.

We started by opening a page on justgiving and so far we have raised £4247.32p plus £476.41 in Gift Aid. The next thing we did was organise a memorial disco, which was held in August 2007. We rallied around all the local shops and hotels and collected donations for an auction, a raffle and lots more. We also had a bag packing day at Marks & Spencers and have done lots and lots of boot sales.

My friends, and even strangers on my family tree site Genes Reunited, helped a lot. Diane and her friend did the CRY eight bridges walk in 2007 and raised lots – and her employers then matched her amount. NPower made a calendar and donated the some of the proceeds to CRY. We had home made cards donated which I sold and added more to the justgiving site. My son Robert and his wife Cattrina are doing a bungee jump as is Diana Hennis from Genes Reunited.

We will continue to raise both money and awareness of this silent killer and try our best to help save lots and lots of lives.

My nephew was tested and proved positive and has had a defibrillator fitted. My Uncle (50), Mother (64), Brother (58) and my Grandson (just a few months old) all died the same way – I am convinced this is connected to SADS.

Gillian Shield