New defibrillator unveiled in Markyate to honour 18-year-old victim of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome

PUBLISHED: 17:00 07 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:13 09 July 2018

The defibrillator in Harry's memory is in Markyate.

The defibrillator in Harry's memory is in Markyate.

Archant

A bereaved mother has unveiled a new defibrillator in Markyate after her son died unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest.

Harry FaulknerHarry Faulkner

Five years ago, Harry Faulkner was just about to serve on a court at Nuffield Health and Fitness Centre in Highfield Park when he collapsed.

Attempts to resuscitate Harry both on court and at Watford General Hospital were unsuccessful, and the 18-year-old later passed away in hospital.

The coroner found no obvious explanation for Harry’s death or complications with his heart, and it was ruled he had died of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

This is an umbrella term which describes an unexpected death as little as six hours after good health.

Harry FaulknerHarry Faulkner

Harry’s mum Donna has since dedicated herself to raising awareness of SADS and fund raising for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), a charity working to reduce the instance of SADS.

The new defibrillator, which could restart a person’s heart if they collapse, is outside Markyate fire station.

Donna said: “When your son goes to four or five squash matches a week, is slim, doesn’t smoke, and is as fit as a fiddle, you don’t expect that. All mothers would expect their sons to come back home.

“This is a life saving piece of equipment. It could not just save a life but raise awareness to people that do not know that their children could be walking around with a problem that could be triggered tomorrow.”

Harry FaulknerHarry Faulkner

Many SADS cases could have been avoided if underlying heart abnormalities had been detected in an ECG test.

Donna has screened 800 children in the last four years.

She said: “[Harry’s death] ruined my family, end of story. It’s not my future, it was my Harry’s future.”

In 2013, after the inquest, Harry’s family described him as a “well-liked and loved young man who always went about his life with diligence, passion and commitment”.

Harry FaulknerHarry Faulkner

They added: “Harry was a wonderful son who never brought any trouble to our door, in fact he only ever brought joy and happiness.

“Harry is dearly missed by those that loved him. His story has touched many hearts and he will live on in the memories of us, his family, and also with his friends and those in the sporting world.”

To find out more about CRY, visit www.c-r-y.org.uk

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