Mother shares heartbreak as daughter dies suddenly in sleep aged 31

The mother of Catherine Keane has urged parents to get their children screened for Sudden Adult Death Syndrome
Mother shares heartbreak as daughter dies suddenly in sleep aged 31

Louise Walsh

The mother of a young advertising executive who died suddenly last year has urged parents to get their children screened for Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) if there is a family history of cardiac illness.

On July 1st last year Margherita Cummins received the devastating news that her daughter, Catherine Keane, had died in her sleep aged just 31.

"She was living with two friends in Rathmines in Dublin and they were all working from home so no-one really paid attention when she didn't come down for breakfast," Ms Cummins said.

"They sent her a text at 11.20am and when she didn't reply, they checked her room and found she had passed. Her friend heard a noise in her room at 3.56am and believes now that is when she died.

"Catherine and I were so close because it was just us for so long before I met my husband Fergal and had Sean and Naoise. She was such a character.

"She worked for an advertising company and was doing really well. She went to the gym and walked 10,000 steps every day.

"She used to ring me while out for a walk and just chat away for the duration.

"She was such great craic and quick-witted and was really good for getting people together

"Every day I wake up and think ‘Oh God, here we go again’. It's a struggle. I try and look at something positive to get me through but there are so many reminders everywhere.

"I miss the notifications – all of them – that she used to constantly send on the phone.

Catherine Keane and her mother, Margherita Cummins

"I take some comfort in that no-one hurt her. She went in her sleep and knew no pain and I'm grateful for that. I always worried about the kids driving in the car but never saw this coming. I never thought I'd ever lose a child in my life."

Ms Cummins and her family are holding a 5km walk near their home in Fairyhouse Racecourse, Ratoath, Co Meath at 2pm on July 2nd to remember Catherine on her anniversary and also to raise money for CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).

"We found CRY by accident but they have been incredible to us. We would like to give something back to help them help others in our situation.

"Well-known jockey Barry Geraghty will start the event for us, and we would like to thank Peter Rowe at Fairyhouse who couldn't do enough for us.

"You can register for free for the walk or turn up on the day. We are asking for a donation of €15, but you can give what you can afford and children under 12 go free.

"I would urge all parents with a history of cardiac illness in the family to get their children checked. My mother and grandfather died in their 50s of cardiac failure, but I never thought my children would be in danger. I've now got Naoise and Sean screened, and although we are still waiting back for tests, initial exams look positive.

"We are all a bit like Humpty Dumpty now. We have fallen and we've been glued back together but we will never be the same.

"To see your child coming down the road in a coffin is something a mother should never see.

"You do forget that we are only here for a short time. It's all about love and peace and if you have that in your life, then you have everything.

"Catherine loved her handbags. Louis Vuitton and all the designer ones but they didn't go with her. Nothing went with her. At the end of the day, she goes with love."

Further details and registration for Walk in Memory of Catherine can be found on Eventbrite.

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