Belfast Telegraph

This is for you, Stuart: Family prepare for tragic son's anniversary after 'brutal' year

By Claire Williamson

A father whose son died suddenly from a heart condition while playing football has said the past year has been "brutal" as they prepare to remember him on the anniversary of his death.

Stuart Ross died, aged 25, on Saturday, September 21, 2013 when he collapsed during a football match for his beloved team Islandmagee.

First-aiders and paramedics worked tirelessly with the Co Antrim man who was taken to hospital but died a short time later.

His family, and the wider community, were plunged into shock at the news of his death with around 1,000 people attending his funeral.

Since then Stuart's family and friends have been raising money for Cry (Cardiac Risk in the Young), and to date nearly £24,000 has been raised in his memory.

Mulhollands of Larne, who arranged and conducted Stuart's funeral, together with Stuart's parents are hosting a dinner dance and auction on Friday night.

Stuart's dad David said: "This is the fourth fundraising do in as many weeks so it's great that everybody has been thinking about us and it's a great support."

Looking back over the year since Stuart's death, Mr Ross said it had been "traumatic."

He said: "In some ways it seems like an eternity and other times it seems like a blink.

"You just get on day by day and try to be positive about things and support each other and keep trying to work as a family unit – take each day as it comes."

When asked if the shock of his death had at all faded, Mr Ross said "not really".

"Sometimes I still sit down and wonder what's happened. But I'll get there. I know the grieving process is a long one and there will be happier days ahead, but we are doing fine considering what we've been through."

He added: "But having said that we are doing OK. It's just hard. It's brutal, there are no two ways about it. It's just one of those things that shouldn't happen. You shouldn't be burying your kids."

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