On Sunday, 24 March, more than 13,000 people will take to the streets to run in the much anticipated London Landmarks Half Marathon. Among those 13,000 people challenging their minds and bodies on Sunday, will be Suzanne Rowan and her ten strong team of family and friends who have a raised a running total of over £22,000, all in memory of her husband, Robert Rowan, who was Brentford FC Technical Director.
Robert’s life was tragically cut short on 12 November 2018, when he suffered a fatal cardiomyopathy episode, at only 28 years of age. As well as the trauma that comes from losing someone so young, so loved, and so quickly, Robert's heart condition was undiagnosed, so a brutal shock for everyone who knew Robert, including his devoted wife, Suzanne.
In the months that have followed, Suzanne has taken each day one at a time, one step at a time. Having lost her soulmate, she questioned her future, and what it might hold. In the days following Roberts death, by freak chance, Suzanne came across an advert for a charity called Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). It immediately caught Suzanne’s attention, who discovered this charity for the first time.
Although Robert had been receiving ad hoc medical attention for palpitations, they were never told about this charity, and how they can support young people struggling with cardiac health, and the overwhelming anxiousness that comes with having an undiagnosed cardiac condition. Every week in the UK at least 12 young people between the age of 14 and 35, die of undiagnosed heart conditions, and this not so well known charity, are working tirelessly to reduce this number.
CRY actively provide a wraparound service for those effected by cardiac illness and death in the young from support and research, to screening and awareness. If more cardiac issues can be identified more effectively through screening, the possibility is that more lives can be improved, and even saved.
Suzanne’s mission is simple and clear; to raise money to fund screenings, to diagnose problems and to save other young lives. After losing Robert only four months ago, Suzanne and Robert’s family have already worked closely with Brentford Football Club and CRY, to set up the first screening day in memory of Robert. This will take place on 12 May. The ambition is to screen up to 100 young people during the day to help identify undiagnosed heart conditions, alongside remembering Robert.
The London Landmarks Half Marathon is the next thing in a long line of planned activity to achieve her mission, working with CRY to help save more young lives and help other bereaved families. So far, Suzanne and her 10-strong running team have raised nearly £22,000, all thanks to the generosity of those who have donated their hard cash, in memory of Robert, and in support of Suzanne and her running team.
This is testament to them both, and to Suzanne, who will carry on Robert’s legacy. You can find out more about Suzanne’s journey on her fundraising page. If you have any fundraising ideas, tips or stories to share, feel free to get in touch with Suzanne.
Suzanne said: "I’m nervous, but looking forward to running the London Landmarks Half Marathon on Sunday in memory of my husband, Robert. I’m completely overwhelmed with everyone’s generosity, and delighted that me and my team of 10 runners have raised nearly £22,000 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
"Robert’s family and I want to support CRY to raise awareness that every week, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people between the ages of 14 – 35 die of undiagnosed heart conditions. By raising awareness, and encouraging screenings, we can work towards reducing that number."