It’s every parent’s worst nightmare to lose a child – at any age. Sue Parsons, from Malton, North Yorkshire, shared her son Tom’s story with us.
“Tom was a sporty, popular and fun-loving lad. He always loved sport: he loved rugby – he was captain of his year group team at Malton and Norton Rugby Club. He also cycled a lot on his road bike, he went jogging and he was a member of the local gym. He was always active.
“In August 2016, Tom went on holiday to the Greek island of Zante with his pals. Everything was fine beforehand – we had no clue anything was wrong. He was texting me most days when he was out there, just checking in. He was always good like that.
“On Tuesday 9th August, the boys were heading round the bay to the beach. They had had a late night, and they decided to get cabs.
“He had just got into a taxi when he suddenly looked like he was having a seizure.
“His friend Garb tried to do CPR on him, and an off-duty doctor also helped, but it all happened so quickly and they couldn’t save him.
“Of course, I didn’t know any of this was happening at the time. When I got home from work, a police officer was waiting at my house. They asked if I was Suzanne Parsons and if I was Tom Parsons’ mother. My heart just sank, I knew something must have happened.
“They said Tom had been unwell and that they wanted to talk to me inside. I wanted them to tell me then and there. I just wanted to know what had happened.
“They took my arm and led me inside and that’s when they told me, Tom hadn’t made it. I don’t remember much after that moment – it was all such a blur.”
No warning signs
It was only when the Parsons received the results of the post-mortem that they knew that Tom had died of myocarditis. The condition, which is sometimes caused by a virus or an infection – but may happen for unknown reasons – causes inflammation of the heart muscle. It is a condition that in many cases gets better on its own, but in cases like Tom’s can cause severe damage to the heart and leads to devastating consequences.
Following Tom’s death, Sue and Nick have done everything they can to help improve understanding of myocarditis. Along with Tom’s friends and family they have fundraised for the Britich Heart Foundation, and have set up a specific fund which will go towards myocarditis research.
“Myocarditis is particularly difficult, in that affects healthy people, with no underlying illnesses. It is not caused by lifestyle factors and in some cases, there might be very few symptoms.”
To date the Tom Parsons Trust have installed 6 defibrillators around the Malton area which are checked by the Croft Community. This is an amazing legacy.
May 6th at York University – Heart Start training session with the British Heart Foundation. Learn lifesaving CPR skills and becoming one of the nation’s life savers, an invaluable skill. To sign up contact the FACEBOOK PAGE HERE.
Fire fighters from Malton’s Red Watch will be riding over 100 miles on the 4th August in aid of the Trust.
Read more about their story on their Just Giving page and support their fantastic commitment if you can: https://bit.ly/2SdhTQ2
Here is a little bit more about Myocarditis
Myocarditis is inflammation of the myocardium – the heart muscle. It’s not related to lifestyle and there are no medical treatments to prevent it.
Most people suffering with myocarditis recover without complications, but in rare cases when inflammation is severe, there can be damage to the heart.
What are the symptoms of myocarditis?
People who have myocarditis usually develop symptoms one to two weeks after the initial viral illness.
Symptoms of myocarditis include:
a stabbing pain and/or tightness in the chest which may spread across the body
shortness of breath when lightly exercising or walking
difficulty breathing when resting
flu like symptoms such as a high temperature, tiredness and fatigue
In prolonged cases myocarditis might affect your heart muscle and tissue, meaning you could develop heart failure. Treatment involves close monitoring and medication, including anti-inflammatory medicines and, depending on your condition, antibiotics.