‘We will never forget the night Rebecca died’

Latest health news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest health news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

The family of a Hadleigh woman who collapsed from an unknown heart defect have held a screening session to prevent similar tragedies.

Rebecca Phillips was aged just 25 when she died from an undiagnosed heart condition during a friend’s party in November 2010.

Since then, her family have raised more than £10,000 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (Cry) and, on Wednesday, held a screening day in Hadleigh with the charity to test people aged between 14 and 35.

“It was a very emotional day, but it all went very well,” said Rebecca’s mum Julie, from Aylward Close.

“We just want to help other families and more than 100 people got screened on the day. A few minor problems were picked up and those people will go for further tests, but the majority got the all clear.”

Following the death of Rebecca, who worked at Lavender Hall Kindergarten in Hadleigh, her family all underwent checks and were given a clean bill of health.

Julie, who has Parkinson’s disease, said she wanted more people to be aware of heart conditions in young people.

“We had no idea something like this could happen until it did,” she said.

“That is why we have raised £10,000 for Cry, with £8,500 paying for the screening sessions and the rest of the money going towards research.”

Rebecca’s dad Peter and brothers Nick and Lee have all been involved in the fundraising and Julie said they were pleased something positive had come from such a tragic incident.

“It was horrendous when she died and it is still very painful after nearly four years,” she said.

“We will never forget that night and want to save other families from going through the awful trauma of losing a child.”