My brother's death saved my life...

My brother’s death has saved my life…

Following footballer Fabrice Muamba’s recent cardiac arrest, two interviewees from sister site, Featureworld appeared in THE SUN newspaper this week.

Sian Donnelly, 20, was diagnosed with a heart problem after her brother Adam collapsed at the age of 17.

My brother's death saved my life...
Sian Donnelly
Tragically, the family were on holiday in Cyprus when Adam, who’d always been healthy, suddenly collapsed at the hotel pool. Sadly, he died and his death was put down to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome – something that strikes healthy young people out of the blue. But two years ago Cry, the charity for Sudden Death Syndrome, suggested to the family that they should be tested in case it was something genetic.

It turned out that mum Julie was a carrier for Brugada Syndrome. Commonly associated with Sudden Death Syndrome – it is an inherited condition which affects the rhythm of the heart. It then turned out that Sian also had it and she has had a mini defibrillator fitted, which monitors her heart and shocks it should it stop. Undoubtedly it was the same condition that had caused Adam’s death.

The family are now campaigning for teenagers aged 14 to be routinely offered a heart test, which would pick up any irregular heartbeat.

This could then be investigated by doctors and a sudden problem could be prevented.

Meanwhile Featureworld interviewee Nick Dias, 27, told how he’d recently been walking his children to school with his fiancee when he collapsed.

He thought he’d just fainted but his fiancee persuaded him to get it checked out. Nick, a slim non-smoker who is fit, was shocked to be diagnosed with a previously unknown heart condition, which could have killed him. He has now been fitted with a pacemaker. Nick Dias

As well as campaigning for routine testing in schools, the pair are also behind a campaign The Sun is running. The Sun, backed by the British Heart Foundation, wants CPR – how to save someone’s life if their heart stops beating – to be taught in all schools. It is believed if someone has collapsed this can give vital minutes until help arrives.

Find out more: appeal.

Do you have a health story to sell? Contact Featureworld’s Health story department.

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Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

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