WHAT PARENTS NEED TO KNOW...
…About teenage and young adult children
How are you all?
I’m starting this newsletter as, like most people, I’m feeling the loss of a queen that’s been there for all of my life. Although it was clear her age was affecting her physically, from the footage we saw of her recently, her passing came as a huge shock. And, I suppose like everyone, I’ve been humbled and overwhelmed by the state funeral yesterday.
Whilst the feeling of loss we are all experiencing may continue to exist, in time we should celebrate the life of a woman who was so ahead of her time and achieved so much.
A lot of me thinks that had she paved the way for our generation to have far more freedom than our mothers had. We were the generation who didn’t think twice about getting a job and continuing in that job once we had a family. Our mother’s didn’t always have that choice. How much of that was impacted by the Queen resuming her royal duties after each of her four children hasn’t been measured, to the best of my knowledge. But I’d wager it did have a strong impact.
At this point in time, like the rest of the country, I’m thankful to Her Late Majesty for her 70 years of selfless service and pride that she was my queen. Rest easy, your majesty
SOMETHING PARENTS NEED TO BE AWARE OF…
I was planning this issue of the newsletter before I left for my holiday (I've just returned from a fortnight in Berlin). In it, I wanted to highlight an issue that parents of teenage and young adult children need to be aware of. Because of having genetic cardiac problems in my family, I’ve long been aware of the under-the-radar risk of teenagers and young adults may have in having undiagnosed cardiac problems that can lead to sudden, tragic early deaths. And it’s far more common than you would think.
Such a tragic happening occurred in the village where I live, just over two years ago to the Cantello family. I’ll let Sally Cantello, the mother of the family, tell the story - in her own words and with her kind permission:
Oliver Henry Brown, born Wednesday 24th September 1997, my first child.
Oli was a typical boy, loved football!
On Friday 11th September 2020, one of Oli’s friends rang me just after 10pm.
Sam told me to come to the Bottle Bank (a bar in the village where we live) and that Oli wasn’t too good. He said just get here.
I had enjoyed a glass of wine earlier so ran the quarter of a mile or so to the bar and was greeted by 2 ambulances. Oli’s friend Sam said they were working on Oli….
How does this happen to my Son? He was out having a good time with his mates, said he didn’t feel great, collapsed and died.
The ambulance crew told me they had done everything they could to save my son and I had to go and say goodbye to him…..
Life is so utterly cruel.
Oli was discovered to have passed from Epi-Myocarditis, a virus his body couldn’t fight for some reason and it stopped his heart.
The charity CRY - Cardiac Risk in the Young - were my support. I spoke to a trained counseller who was also a mum that had lost her son.
CRY provided the family with information, support and answers at a time when we were utterly ‘lost’.
I will never ever get over losing my beautiful son so suddenly.
CRY have helped me get up each day and carry on. Oli would want that.
We found Oli’s bucket list, he never told anyone! On his bucket list was to run a marathon.
I am running the London marathon on 2nd October for Oli and the listing on his bucket list (that none of us knew about!) From the run, I want to raise vital funds for CRY who run screening events to test young people for heart related conditions along with support for those families who have suffered loss from undiagnosed and sudden cardiac problems.
It’s no doubt they will have picked up many, previously undiagnosed, conditions and saved many young lives.
When I planned this issue before my holiday in Berlin, I wanted to include Sally’s story to both raise awareness of the cardiac risks in an age group who we wouldn’t imagine need to think twice about this. My reason for this was because readers of this newsletter are likely to have children in this age group and if I can raise awareness of something that might impact them, then it’s all been worthwhile - hence the title of this newsletter. In addition, I wanted to be timely with Sally’s story in the edition nearest to her marathon run, to help raise her profile.
In the meantime, the queen passed away and of course, I couldn’t publish an issue without paying tribute to her. So, I apologise for the content of this newsletter being somewhat sombre. But, I suppose we all know there are times in life when “sombre” needs to be acknowledged and experienced.
If this is you, then I wish you peace and a bit of uplift and if you need to, reach out and speak to someone. There’s no shame in admitting you need a bit of support now and then. A good start might be taking a look at the charity Mind’s website They have practical advice coupled with a list of organisations who will be able to help.
So, in a slightly less upbeat mood than usual, stay safe and well and I’ll see you in a fortnight’s time.
Till a fortnight’s time