"I’ve decided to take part in the Admiral Cardiff Santa and Elf Dash to raise money for Cymru Hearts after a personal tragedy turned my life upside down.
Back in February I lost my beloved Dad Clive aged just 59 after he suffered a cardiac arrest, Dad had just gotten to his car ready to drive home from work when the tragic event unfolded. Anyone who knew my dad would say he was larger than life, fit, healthy a keen golfer and walking footballer who always kept himself active. He was an amazing dad and everyone who met him instantly loved him and felt they’d known him for years.
My Dad and I shared an amazing Dad-Daughter bond, forged stronger through our love of football. Dad was a massive Wales and Tottenham Hotspur fan, he would travel both home and away to watch Wales play and was always on the sidelines as I went about my role with the Wales National Squad.
One of my most treasured memories is sharing the European Championships with him in 2016, he’d waited 58 years to witness Wales at a major finals tournament and that summer he experienced it, me pitch-side and him in the stands.
The worse thing about a Cardiac Arrest and some forms of heart disease is that it's a silent killer, more often than not it's without symptoms, totally out of the blue with no prior warning. This is what happened to dad, he never presented any problems.
This family tragedy has spurred me into promoting the importance of Cardiac Screening, CPR Training and working with this wonderful charity to get these vital defibrillators into all our communities. You never know when someone may need it and it saves a life.
Unfortunately, the passing of my dad was instant and he couldn't be saved, but each day I try to keep his memory alive by promoting the importance of this amazing charity and the good news stories that have emerged from a person being saved through Screening, CPR and Defibrillator use.
Following the collection of donations at my dad’s funeral, we decided to donate the money to Cymru Hearts and install 3 defibs in his memory. We donated one to Merthyr Tydfil Golf Club, one to the Football Association of Wales HQ and one to the volunteers of Merthyr Park Run. Sharon and Kym from Cymru Hearts have been a tower of strength and comfort through this upsetting time and I can’t thank them enough for their support over the last 9 months.
Life will never be the same without Dad and somedays you feel you can’t go about your normal day to day activities but one thing this has taught me is - if you can use a personal tragedy to do good for others and keep a loved one’s legacy alive at the same time, you're paying them the ultimate tribute. That’s why I continue to support this charity and do all I can to raise awareness of it. If I can help spare one family from going through the tragedy my family relive each day without my dad, then I know i’m doing something truly worthwhile
I launched a Just Giving page for myself and a few of my colleagues who are taking part in the Santa Dash to raise funds. It’s been up and running just a week and we’ve already raised nearly £600.00. We want to raise as much as possible, so please donate what you can."
You can register for our Santa Dash here