Healthy Living: ‘Whatever had taken Kyle was hiding’

Kyle Hancock with his brothers Liam and Shay
Kyle Hancock with his brothers Liam and Shay
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IT was 9.30pm on a Sunday when Kyle Hancock’s mum and dad received the knock on the door that every parent dreads.

When his dad Ian opened the door he was alarmed to find a police officer standing outside – who delivered the shocking news that his beloved son was dead.

Kyle was discovered lifeless in his university halls of residence aged just 18 – and there didn’t appear to be any reason for his sudden collapse.

The fit and healthy, sports-mad teenager had fallen victim to sudden arrythmic death syndrome, which claims the lives of three young people every week in the UK.

The heart condition strikes without warning and normally does not show any signs or symptoms, leaving behind heartbroken families.

Since the tragedy, Ian and the rest of Kyle’s family and friends have dedicated themselves to raising funds in the teen’s memory for the charity Cardiac Risk In The Young, collecting £10,000.

In July 2012 a sponsored walk was arranged from Hillsborough Stadium – home of Sheffield Wednesday, Kyle’s favourite team – to Bramall Lane, and last week Ian’s employers, rail firm Freightliner, donated £1,000 to CRY.

“It is a fantastic achievement and a huge positive out of a very sad negative,” said Ian.

“Fundraising for SADs will hopefully one day give us and other families an answer as to why our beloved Kyle and other young people, who as far as we were concerned was in perfect health, went to sleep that night and never woke up.”

Kyle, from Bradwell in the Peak District, died in October 2011, just over a month after starting a sports journalism course at the University of Creative Arts in Surrey.

Ian, a freight train driver, said his son was ‘fun-loving, happy and easy to get on with’.

“He was a wonderful young person, made friends very easily and touched a lot of people’s hearts,” he said.

“He was always making people laugh and smile.”

Kyle played for his village’s football team up until he started university, where he was having trials with the UCA team as a goalkeeper.

“The weekend before Kyle died he had come home for the weekend to watch a local derby, Sheffield Wednesday versus Chesterfield,” Ian said.

“He seemed to have a bit of a cold – ‘fresher’s flu’ as he called it – but otherwise he was in great shape and spirit and was enjoying his time at university.

“He wanted to come home the following weekend as well, but decided to stay as he had other expenses to think about. I wish he had come home.”

Ian said Kyle ‘sounded well’ during a final phone conversation the day before his death, but there was no answer when he tried to ring the next day.

“We tried to phone him the next day but there was no answer, which I thought was a little strange.

“All day we tried to contact him but there was no answer. By the evening we were getting worried. Then at about 9:30pm we received a knock on the door and my heart dropped through the floor when I opened the door and saw a policewoman standing there.

“She asked if we had a
 son at UCA Farnham. I answered, ‘Yes, Kyle, is he alright? What’s wrong?’ I invited her in, then in front of us all she dropped the worst news you can ever receive.

“That one sentence, that one statement, completely turned our world upside down and had just destroyed us all. Our beloved Kyle had gone. He had gone to sleep in the very early hours and never woke up.”

Kyle had been with friends the night before, Ian added, and fellow students had called in campus security in the evening as there had been no sign of him all day.

“Like others, Kyle had nothing to suggest throughout his whole life that he needed to be screened for cardiac health,” he said.

“There was nothing wrong with him.”

The cause of death was recorded as ‘natural causes – sudden adult death syndrome’, as a post-mortem examination uncovered no obvious health problems.

“Whatever had taken 
Kyle was hiding,” Ian continued.

“We all miss Kyle so much – he is always in our hearts and minds, and never forgotten. We will never accept or ever come to terms with what has happened – all we can do is learn how to live with our loss.”

Kyle’s brothers Liam, 23 and Shay, 17, have both been screened for cardiac conditions, as well as Ian and his wife Debbie.

“In an ideal world, everybody would be screened, but it’s not possible – imagine the problems of trying to get a mortgage or life insurance if someone young was found to have a problem.

“So fundraising for SADs will promote awareness and help prevent and reduce sudden arrythmic death syndrome.”