In November last year, my cousin unexpectedly had a heart attack and died. She was just 22. I’ve never personally dealt with the death of someone my age. Seeing stories of young people dying in the news doesn’t seem real; It isn’t relatable. So it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting this news and I wasn’t equipped to deal with it. I’m okay with grief in general but it was the shock that got me in this case. How could someone who was just a year older than me die from a heart attack? Sure, she had asthma but I never expected her to die so young.
To begin with, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I sat open-mouthed trying to process the information. It didn’t take long for me to decide to look to the future and do something to help.
For my 21st birthday, I got a voucher to do a skydive, something I’ve always wanted to do and I now know Zoe, my cousin, also wanted to do. That’s why I want to do it in her memory.
I visited my auntie, who understandably was still grieving but wanted to do something positive. She was happy with what I had planned and picked a photo of Zoe for me to use to promote what I was doing. So then my plans were in motion.
I’ve set up a sponsorship page to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to help other families deal with what mine has had to go through. There was a collection for CRY at Zoe’s funeral and I want to add to that fundraising.
What is Cardiac Risk in the Young?
CRY is a humanitarian charity aiming to improve awareness of Young Sudden Cardiac Deaths (YSCD). The charity has been helping people for almost 25 years and currently has under 50 employees doing all their work.
CRY has many famous patrons helping provide the excellent services. Actor, John Barrowman, rugby player, Gregor Townsend, and singer, Pixie Lott have all recognised the importance of this cause and have offered their money and help.
What does CRY do?
Cardiac Risk in the Young wants to further their medical research into YSCD and facilitate the heart screening of young people through cardiac testing programmes. CRY hope to increase early diagnosis of heart problems in young people. They are also helping young people that have been diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions.
Why does CRY do it?
Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. CRY are working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac deaths. The families of those taken from the world far too young need the support of CRY.
What am I doing?
So, on May 18th, I’ll be jumping from 15,000ft at Skydive Hibaldstow. What started as something that I wanted to tick off my bucket list has turned into something so much more. So far I’ve raised £70 but I’m aiming for more like £400 to help CRY help others. Zoe’s family and friends have been very generous and I’m so very grateful for their support.
I still can’t believe she’s gone. Zoe touched so many people in her short life. She achieved so much and was incredibly successful and that won’t be forgotten. I want to keep her in everyone’s mind while I do my skydive.
I need something good to come from this tragedy. Cardiac Risk in the Young wasn’t able to help her, but I want them to be able to help as many people as possible.
Feature image: florida.skydivespaceland.com
A reporter for the FA, Media Officer for a National League football team, and a journalism student.