In 2015, Dave and Sue Hughes were devastated after their son, Daniel passed away unexpectedly. At the age of 28, Dan was outgoing, fit and active. He was a regular at the gym, played football every Saturday and Sunday morning for Alsager’s Bank FC and covered one of the toughest delivery rounds in his job as a post man – the Mow Cop route.
After enjoying a chat over dinner with his parents on March 18, 2015, Dan went to bed and sadly in the early hours of the 19th he slipped away peacefully in his sleep. It was revealed after a post mortem that Dan had passed away from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, known as SADS. To Dave, Sue and all of Dan’s family and friends this was a massive shock. No warning signs had occurred prior to Dan’s death – no chest pains, no lack of breath or headaches.
After their son’s funeral Dave and Sue, of Bignall End, decided they wanted to try and turn their pain into something positive and started up a memorial fund in Dan’s name. The fund is to help stage heart screening days with national charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
“It’s impossible to try to explain the grief and sadness we have felt since we lost Dan, it is a grief like no other,” said Dave.
“It never leaves us, we have learned to live with it and try to turn our tragedy into something positive for the community. As a family our involvement with Cardiac Risk in the Young, or CRY as they are better known, started following the death of our son Daniel.
“We had received several hundred pounds in collections from his funeral etc and didn’t know what to do with it. It was only when the funeral director came along to give us the donations, he told us about CRY and the work they do so we spoke to them and decided it was something we wanted get involved in.
“We set up a memorial fund with CRY in Dan’s name and since then we’ve been raising funds to stage heart screening days for the benefit of the young people in our local community. We know this heart screening works as we have saved two young lives and had many more people referred for further tests for conditions they were unaware they had. The support we’ve received from the local community has been incredible and very humbling, every penny we raise goes straight back into Daniels fund to pay for more screening days. This means that people can actually see where their money is going and the benefit it has for local young people and their families.”
CRY is a charity which was founded in 1995 to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, and to support affected families.
Screening Days are normally funded by people or groups who raise money to hold events in local communities usually because a loved one has been lost to a Young Sudden Cardiac Death. The cost is £5,000 per day at which 100 young people will be screened. The aim of the Daniel Hughes heart screening fund is to provide a programme of heart screening days whereby a minimum of 200 local young people have access to screening on an annual basis. These days will take place on the first weekend in September each year providing funding is in place to cover the costs.
On the 3rd and 4th of September 2016, the first heart screening days paid for by the Dan Hughes memorial heart screening fund were held near his home village of Bignall End. The Screening was conducted by Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and the need for such events was bought home by the stories of two young people who attended on the first day.
Lincoln Mills was diagnosed with a hole in the heart, a condition he knew nothing about, which could have potentially cost him his life. He was advised never to go deep sea diving again as this posses a real threat for him. Lincoln had dived before and was planning to do so again – needless to say this has now been cancelled.
This is a message Dave and Sue received from Lincoln’s mum Julie after the screening:
“Hi Dave thanks for this afternoon and the cup of tea. My son who went for the ultrasound was found to have a PFO and has been advised NEVER to go deep sea diving. You may well have saved his life today as he has dived with sharks before and fully intended to go diving again. But with the information provided to him today he certainly won’t be doing so again. Many many thanks! Julie xxxx”
The second person was 17 year old Lucy Smith. A problem was found by the CRY technicians during her tests and she was advised to go straight to the local A&E department. She was immediately admitted to the cardiac ward where she spent 11 days undergoing tests and eventually an operation to fit a pace maker.
This was a message sent from Lucy’s mum Tracey to Dave and Sue:
“In all honesty your fundraising probably saved Lucy’s life, no words at all can ever say how grateful we will always be to you Sue Hughes Dave Hughes xxxxxxxxx”
For more information on Dan’s fund and the work that goes on to support it please visit:
In memory of Daniel Hughes Facebook page
(Please see more information about CRY here.)