Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) could cause sudden cardiac death in children and young adults (commonly under age 40), who are in good health and often with no prior discernible symptoms. Many SADS cases come as a complete shock and unexpected tragedy to the victims and their families. A significant percentage of autopsies do not identify any cause of death and are referred to as sudden unexplained deaths, which further aggravates the confusion and grief suffered by the affected individual’s families.
SADS is a silent killer, which means that the affected individual and their families are unlikely to be prepared for it. In 2012, my son, fit and healthy and in the prime of his life, was unexpectedly struck down by SADS. His passing left my family in a complete state of shock and despair.
I now understand that my son’s passing was amongst other similar cases of sudden cardiac death due to SADS, which affect children and young adults in Hong Kong and around the world. The loss of my son and many others due to SADS are tragedies that could never be reversed.
A year ago, I did not know much about sudden cardiac death or heart arrhythmia conditions. Throughout the past year, I am so grateful for the support of SADS Foundation in the United States and the United Kingdom, which provided my family with comprehensive information about heart arrhythmia conditions and a solid platform to launch SADS HK Foundation. My family is also privileged to have received the attention and dedication of a team of first-class medical professionals at The Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong, who are specialists in the field of genetic cardiac diseases. This team of doctors has provided so much support to us throughout the process of identifying SADS as the cause of my son’s sudden departure and alerting us to additional screening for immediate family members.
In my personal journey of grief, all the immense support and incredible connections from all around have made me realize that I must fulfill a true purpose --- in honor of my son and the other victims of SADS and in service to our community --- that is, to establish SADS HK Foundation to raise public & medical awareness and advocate support for SADS research. I truly believe that in the battle against SADS, the critical difference between life and death lies in awareness of SADS, understanding and openness about what SADS is and appropriate prevention for affected individuals. These efforts will give us a realistic chance of saving lives and stopping similar unexpected tragedies from happening.
I therefore humbly ask you to support me in this cause – do not let sudden unexplained deaths claim the lives of our children and young adults in silence. It is my sincere hope that, with our joint efforts, my family’s and other affected families’ unexpected tragedies can be transformed into something more positive for the Hong Kong community as a whole. Let us work together to save the lives of affected children and young adults now --- so that they can live their lives to the fullest and fulfill their dreams and potential for the future.
Shirley Chan Chow
Founder, SADS HK Foundation
I take this opportunity to express my gratitude and appreciation for the many relatives, friends and colleagues who rallied around my family and provided all sorts of support to us, including their companionship and emotional support, prayers and blessings, offer of professional assistance, linkage to other charitable foundations, participation in the set up of SADS Hong Kong etc. --- this list is endless and words cannot express how thankful I truly am.