Clocking up the miles to beat a killer condition
A SEEMINGLY fit and healthy man who died in his sleep of a little-known heart condition will be remembered when his brother and friends take part in a fundraising bike ride.
Keen cyclist Nick Rawlinson was just 30 when he was found dead in bed at his Leamington flat in February last year.
The cause – Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) – was the same undiagnosed irregular heartbeat that led to the collapse of former Premiership footballer Fabrice Muamba during an FA Cup quarter final last year.
He was saved when a defibrillator was rushed onto the pitch.
Nick, who also swam and visited the gym, went to Kenilworth School and the family home was Whitehead Drive in the town.
The automotive engineer worked for Jaguar Land Rover at Gaydon and was cycling between 800 to 900 miles a month as he trained for a charity bike ride in Italy.
His brother Chris said: “Nick, to me, was first and foremost a great brother and friend; fun-loving, never without a smile on his face and always willing to lend an ear or a helping hand.
“He was also a great son to my parents and a mate to those who knew him.”
Chris went on to complete the 133 kilometre Italian bike ride in his brother’s place and raised £4,900 for SADS.
The condition generally comes to light in young and active people.
Chris, aged 28, said: “It can strike anybody but if you put your body under any sort of stress, that’s when it can happen.
“If you have any signs, suffer from light headedness, fainting or a family history of heart problems, get yourself checked.”
After his brother’s death, Chris underwent medical checks and because he was thought to be at risk of SADS, he was fitted with a life-saving device in his chest which means that if his heart does fall out of its natural rhythm, he will be given a 750-volt shock to jolt it back.
The analytical chemist, who works in scientific research, said: “It’s there indefinitely until any technical developments but in the future there may be different ways to treat this condition.”
Along with Chris, Nick’s friends and workmates Steve Jefferies, Simon Dane, Alan Gordon and Gavin Oag have organised the bike ride, which sets out from the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, on February 24, the first anniversary of the death.
There are two rides across south Warwickshire, 80 kilometres and 45 kilometres, taking in some of Nick’s favourite climbs and training routes and costs and details are available on www.the-rawlinson-bracket.co.uk
Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK, said: “Research into Sudden Arrhythmic Death is absolutely vital to help people in the future and prevent such untimely deaths.”
SADS UK also works with schools and community groups to put lifesaving equipment in place and is urging the Government to make defibrillators mandatory in all schools. www.sadsuk.org
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