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It could happen to anyone

Today and every day some of us will say the last words we’ll ever utter to someone we love. Heart disease takes lives without warning and it doesn’t discriminate.

The family and friends of the people in this video died suddenly, with no warning at all. In some cases, this was because they had an underlying heart condition which had never been diagnosed, and this caused them to have a cardiac arrest. 

Some heart conditions are inherited and can be passed in the genes from one generation to the next. Others are congenital heart conditions that develop in the womb before someone is born.

Emma's last words

Jayne Carter, who is featured in the video, lost her 13 year old daughter Emma.
Jayne Carter

Emma collapsed one night at a friend’s house. 

She’d had a cardiac arrest caused by a faulty heart valve that had never been diagnosed.  

“But to look at her you would never know there was anything wrong and she had never been ill.”

Read Jayne's Story

Nicola: I lost my future when Kris died

We packed a lot in to our eight months together. He took me to Bruges for my birthday. We went to Paris. We went to gigs and friends’ weddings. He would always take me to dinner.Nicola

We were doing a 100-mile bike ride together. It was mentally and physically tough. About 40 miles in Kris got a pain in his chest, but I just thought it was a stitch. We got to the first big hill and I said: ‘You just carry on ahead. I’ll meet you in the usual spot.’ 

When I’d got over the hill I saw that someone had collapsed in the road. It was Kris. I went over and as said: ‘I’m here now Kris.’ I thought he was having a fit. 

But then I realised that the person I loved was dying in front of me.”

Ciaran’s story: My last goodbye to Mum was so rushed

I was doing a triathlon that day. My mum would normally come along, but she was busy. I had forgotten the pins to put my race number on, so I ran back home. Ciaran

Mum was just getting out of bed and she wished me luck. I said; ‘Goodbye. I love you.’ And I raced out the door. 

I finished the race in second place and I went to ring Mum and tell her how I’d done. There were loads of missed calls on my phone. Mum had collapsed at the gym and died later in hospital. 

She was the person everyone got on with. She was very happy and smiley. The best way I can describe losing Mum is like having a stone in your shoe. You can jiggle it around but the problem doesn’t go away. It never gets any less painful. 

You just learn to keep going with it.”

James’ story: I’ll never be able to replace my best friend

My mum rang me. She said: ‘Make sure someone is in the room with you.’ 

Then she told me my best friend Daniel had died. She was crying too. Daniel had collapsed running for a train at a station, and died.James

I’d known him since we were three or four. We went to same school and were best friends from there. On a weekend we’d get a takeaway, play golf. We liked the same music. We were pretty much like brothers. 

Having a best friend is what I miss the most. I’ll never be able to replace him.”

Scott’s story: Danny was our leader – and my best friend

Danny was an entertainer. Every group has that sort of character. Laughing and cracking jokes.

We met through rugby when we were teenagers. He was a leader in team sports – just that bloke who was running around and being vocal.Scott

The day he died we were travelling to an away match. The last words I said to him as we ran out to the pitch were: ‘’Good luck. Stay cool and don’t get in trouble with the referee.’

Everything was normal. Play was going on as normal and we scored a try from about half way up the pitch. Everyone ran to celebrate apart from Danny. Then he just collapsed at the side of the pitch. They worked on him for a long time but it was no good.

Danny and I spent most of our adult lives together. We turned from boys to men alongside one another.

I remember Danny just as he was. The joker he was.”

Help us end the devastation

We’ve funded research to understand more about the faulty genes which lead to inherited heart conditions. 

Retired BHF Professor Steve Humphries has dedicated his career to studying the causes of one particular condition, Familial Hypercholesterolemia. His work led to the development of a new test for the condition which will mean more people are diagnosed and can receive treatment.

We’ve also funded research in congenital conditions, such as the pioneering work of Professor Magdi Yacoub, who helped to develop new surgical techniques.

But there is still much more we need to do. Your donations will help to fund more life saving research and help to save more lives.