Sidmouth family hopes screenings to help prevent other young deaths will act as Jon's legacy
PUBLISHED: 17:15 26 May 2018
The legacy of a much-loved Sidmouth man has lived on after his family was able to fund a second series of heart screenings for young people in the town.
Some 100 people aged between 14 and 35 attended Sidmouth Sailing Club on Tuesday at a clinic run by charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
The screenings were funded by the Jon Hayman Memorial Fund - set up by his parents Marion and Robert - which has raised £13,000 in five years.
Jon, aged 27, died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in 2013 while living in Sweden.
Mrs Hayman said it was her goal to make the screenings an annual event to ensure any undiagnosed conditions like her son’s were caught before families experienced a tragedy like theirs.
She added: “I had spoken to him two days before. We had a beautiful call and he had told me he had been out on his snowmobile all day. He said he felt a little tired so we would Skype in a few days. He finished the call by saying, ‘I love you’, and those were the last words he ever said to me. If Jon had had the opportunity to be screened, we would have been aware of his condition and he would probably still be with us today.”
Before Jon’s death, the family had never heard of CRY and its work providing bereavement counselling, medical advice and local screenings.
Mrs Hayman said speaking to those attending the screening on Tuesday made the fundraising worthwhile. She added: “I feel that we owe it to our youngsters; they should not be put at risk of dying unnecessarily. Each death is an absolute heartache, a waste and, in most cases, preventable.
“Losing someone so young does not only affect the immediate family, but also friends of the family, the friends of that young person and, in a place such as Sidmouth, the wider community.
“On a selfish level it is our legacy to Jon. It is so rewarding seeing something positive coming from such a tragedy in our lives.”
She thanked the community for its continuous support of the family’s fundraising, which has included a quiz evening, coffee morning, the Four Trig race, and individual sponsored events.
Tony Phillips, a friend of Jon’s, said: “It is amazing Jon’s memory continues with the CRY heart screenings - thanks to wonderful fundraising by Marion and Robert - and the chance to find future heart problems with young people.”