That’s what happened to Jaxon’s dad Steve. He was just 42.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing about Steve’s tragic early death is the possibility that it could have been prevented.
Steve was young and fit and because of this, the signs that he had heart disease simply weren’t recognised for what they were until it was too late. Would you know what to do in a heart emergency?
The worrying reality is that too many Australians are still not seeking help fast enough for themselves nor for their family members, failing to recognise the subtle indicators of a heart attack, heart failure, or cardiac arrest.
So people miss out on the time-critical specialised care they’d receive from a simple phone call to Triple Zero (000). Then they risk ending up disabled – or they die. Steve’s symptoms were things you could easily confuse with the stress of life with a family, working too hard or a common illness.
He started feeling unusually tired. Then he began having a racing heart, breathlessness and aching legs.
The day that Steve collapsed he was in front of his young son Jaxon. Steve's heart had stopped beating - he could not be revived.
Jaxon is now six years old but the memory is still fresh in his mind. "He remembers it perfectly," says Jaxon's mum Chrissie – who has lost her husband and best friend. “He says, ‘Daddy collapsed, daddy fell over.’ ”
In the dark days that followed, Jaxon would constantly ask where his dad was and Chrissie would reply “heaven”.
Jaxon’s mum recalls how on one family outing to get back some normality he was on a flying fox and she heard him calling out: “I’m going in the sky to see daddy; hold on daddy, I’m coming!”
There are many milestones Steve is now missing that would have meant so much to him – and to Jaxon and Chrissie.
The day Jaxon learned to ride a bike, his first real game of soccer (Steve’s favourite sport) and Father’s Days at school when Jaxon’s Poppy stands in for Steve.
Sadly no-one can bring Steve back, but your gift today will help fund vital heart research and support programs that show Australians like Steve what to do in a heart emergency, so that more people seek treatment in time to survive.