Grieving St Albans father’s LinkedIn post goes viral

Sam Shepheard

Sam Shepheard

Archant

A grieving father whose son died recently has spoken of his amazement after a social media post about him went viral.

St Albans businessman and photographer Craig Shepheard was hit with the devastating news that his 19-year-old son Sam, who had suffered with cerebral palsy, died in the early hours of March 11.

As Craig works independently, he took to professional social network LinkedIn to write a post informing his 2,000 business associates about Sam.

The following morning he was amazed to find that the post had been shared thousands of times across the globe, with countless comments from users moved by his story.

He said: “I’m self employed, so I don’t have work colleagues as such. The worst thing is telling people and seeing their shock and grief and the reason I did the post is because it’s easier if somebody knows.”

The post has been ‘liked’ or commented on more than 25,000 times.

Craig continued: “I put it up in the evening and then 12 hours later I got a message from someone I didn’t know. There were thousands of people who had liked the post and commented on it.

“I didn’t know who these people were. We never thought anything of it. At first we didn’t know how to react. There’s been sad parts of it because some of the people commenting are parents who have also lost children.

“The comments are going up by the minute, I sat down with my two sons and wife to try and go though them. People are saying such supportive and incredible things.”

Sam had suffered a series of health problems in the past year, but showed signs of getting better before he died unexpectedly on Friday (11), leaving behind his parents and two brothers Matthew and Toby.

He had been studying at the Springfield unit at Oaklands College and was very well loved in the community.

Craig added: “He was such a happy chap. He was severely disabled and he couldn’t talk but he communicated with his smile. Everybody remembered him for his smile and I think that’s maybe why this post has touch the hearts of people around the world.”

Following Sam’s death the family have set up the Communication And Technology (CAT) fund in his memory, a sub cause under St Albans And Region (STAR) Scope.

Any money donated to the CAT fund will go towards providing communication aids such as iPads. Craig said: “It could even be used for digital cameras so the families could also have lots of lovely photos like we have of our dear boy.”

A donations page will be set up soon. In the mean time, the charity can be contacted via email: web@starscope.org.uk

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