Dwayne Chow

Dwayne was the beacon of light in our family. He was ambitious yet well-grounded; at a young age, he already had clear plans on how he would build his own business and ultimately give back to the community through charity. He grew up in Hong Kong and later moved to New York, where he graduated from New York University. Along the way, Dwayne developed many varied interests such as photography, sailing, skiing and scuba diving. A keen traveler, Dwayne spent time in many different cities and countries, acquiring a broad worldview and a diverse circle of friends. A few years ago, Dwayne moved back to Hong Kong from New York to spend more time with the family, which he always said was his number one priority. Career wise, after building a good career foundation in a real estate investment firm, he finally decided to pursue his ambition of starting his own business. He loved the responsibility of working on his own and enjoyed the challenges of building his own business. In his free time, he enjoyed the company of good friends and often brought people together, whether by throwing barbecues, organizing hikes, going wakeboarding, or even organizing fundraising events for charity.

Although he lived on his own, on the night of 25 June 2012, Dwayne came home to our family house after dinner and spent some quality time chatting to me, his father and his sister, as we often do as a family before bedtime. He was going on holiday with his sister and his friends in two days’ time and was happy and cheerful. We said our goodnights, and I remember giving him a big hug and saying “I love you” before leaving his bedroom.

On the morning of 26 June 2012, Dwayne never woke up, passing at the young age of 31. It was as heartbreaking as it was bewildering for everyone. As far as we knew, Dwayne was in good health and he had exhibited no symptoms of any diseases or any adverse health conditions. He led a happy and healthy lifestyle, was active and sporty, and he kept a good diet. In a split second and for no discernible explanation, we lost someone so dear to our hearts and so important and irreplaceable in our lives. I held my son in my arms, cradling him like a baby, and all the years of memories flashed across my mind. The loss was indescribable and the pain was piercing, because his departure was so sudden and the finality of death was so absolute.

An autopsy was performed and no cause of death was identified. We were informed that there was nothing wrong with his brain or his heart. Toxicology tests were clear. In fact, Dwayne had completed a comprehensive health check which included an ECG just a few months prior to the incident, with no adverse findings. In the months following Dwayne’s passing, we started to look into unexplained sudden deaths and became aware of sudden arrhythmia death syndromes. We learned about the SADS Foundation and reached out to the Foundation in the UK and the US, which gave us much needed help and support in finding out more about SADS related conditions. At the same time, our family also connected with a team of dedicated doctors who specialize in cardiac genetic research in Hong Kong. Genetic testing was conducted on Dwayne’s heart tissue, and as a result we now understand that Dwayne had Brugada syndrome, one of the causes of SADS.

Throughout the past few months, whilst I grieve the sudden death of my dear son Dwayne, I also increasingly feel the purpose and significance of raising broader awareness of SADS in the Hong Kong community. Having spent some time and effort reaching out to medical professionals and local officials, I found that there is simply not enough awareness of SADS related conditions in Hong Kong. In order to save lives and prevent similar tragedies from happening to other families, I believe much more can be done to support SADS research and generate public awareness in order to prevent sudden deaths due to SADS-related conditions.

Dwayne’s life was filled with hope and joy. We were, and will always be, so proud of him – his genuine nature, his soft spoken ways, his quiet assurance, his big smile, his zest to live life to the fullest and, most of all, his deep love and care for his family and friends. I hope that SADS HK Foundation can be Dwayne’s legacy for the community, to which he had always wanted to contribute. I am so grateful to the SADS Foundation for their continuous support. The SADS HK Foundation will be officially launched in June 2013.

Shirley, mother of Dwayne





馮先生 Tommy