Dan Mason’s brother Dean, a “gentle giant with a placid temperament”, died unexpectedly in 2010 aged just 26 years old.
Dean was a fit and healthy young man who was kind and family orientated, both at home and work as the brothers ran the family business, Mason Brothers Quarry Products.
An active person with a passion for cars and motorsports, Dean, like many others his own age, also enjoyed spending time with his friends, reports WalesOnline.
So when he died in 2010, his family were left shell-shocked, made worse by his young age and the fact that Dean did not seem unwell.
Dan, from Tenby, Wales, said: “He didn’t play sports or anything but was a very fit and healthy individual. It was extremely tough for all of us as a family to go through as you would imagine and required a lot of support from each of us.
“A lot of the time you do get the chance to prepare and understand that somebody is not well, but coping with it after a shock like that is a lot to deal with.”
Every week in the UK, around 12 young people under the age of 35 die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition, with 80 per cent showing no prior symptoms.
Dan added: “It is hard to talk about because I think it’s sometimes associated with individuals of a certain age, so when you approach it with a young generation it does concern them because of the terminology.
“But when you learn more you find out that there are lots of different ways of handling conditions, and you can only understand that from talking about it or getting screened.”
Since Dean’s death, Dan became a regional representative for CRY which is a charity that provides free heart screenings to young people. Fundraising has allowed for multiple heart screenings at Dyffryn Taf Secondary School, where he attended, to help prevent other young people from dying from undiagnosed heart conditions.
More than £225,000 has now been raised in his memory to help screenings to continue in south Wales. Dean’s passing has now changed Dan’s life, as he has to now carefully monitor his own health in case he develops any similar problems.
He said: “I have to monitor myself quite a lot now and get regular screenings. Getting people to understand why they might need to be screened is quite difficult because when I was that age I really thought I was indestructible.
“If you’d have told me when I was eighteen playing rugby to go and get screened I’d have probably palmed it off, and been like – there’s nothing wrong with me, but it is really important.”
To donate to the charity or find out more about screening, you can visit CRY’s website at: https://www.c-r-y.org.uk/
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