A mother who lost her three-year-old son to an unexplained death talked about her family’s life.
Emily, 34, and Darren Bowes, 39, from Lancaster live with their two sons, Alexander, 3, and Freddie, 2, with another child.
The tragedy struck on Boxing Day last year, when Alexander died suddenly for unexplained reasons.
Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC) is rare, with an estimated 1 death per 100,000 children.
The mother of two returned home from a walk with her son Freddy to find a flashing blue light outside the house and later received the shocking news of her son’s death.
“Alexander was a fun little boy. He loved cars. Peter Rabbit was spending time with his family and out there. He was just a cheeky little guy who lights up everyone,” Emily told Lancs Live.
“We had a wonderful Christmas day. He was dancing to the masked singer with his brother Freddie the night before and spent all day opening presents with Freddy.
“He was just a little tired and unwell with symptoms of a pear bug. We had a very grateful family Christmas.
“On Boxing Day, he got a little ill, but there was no temperature or anything else that was particularly serious. I went for a walk with Freddie and was taken to a police car outside the house and taken straight to the hospital, where he died late that evening.”
According to charity SUDC UK, there are currently around 40 children between the ages of 1 and 18 who die suddenly in the UK each year.
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After a thorough investigation, including an autopsy, the cause was still unknown. There are more road accidents, fires, drownings, and more deaths than young children, even though they appear to be healthy.
The charity currently supports more than 1,200 bereaved families worldwide, including Emily’s family.
Shortly after Alexander’s death was confirmed, Emily, a lecturer at Central Lancashire University in Preston, said she and her husband spent days wandering around.
“To be honest, I’m just wandering around. Thankfully, our youngest gave us strength and got us out of bed. You stopped the early days and eventually exist,” she said.
“As a parent, you have to go through all the administrative tasks that you have never done before, such as selecting a funeral director, communicating with the coroner, and waiting for an autopsy.
“I don’t even expect that to happen to my parents when I was young. It’s something we don’t want from anyone, and the lack of an answer makes it even more unbearable with the thought of potentially having to live with them.
After the news of her son’s death, Emily said she was “overwhelmed” by the wave of support.
“The kindness of strangers has been overwhelming. People who have never met us are raising money for us, and people who have never met us reach out to send us a message.”
She also praised the Royal Lancaster Infirmary’s medical staff as “unbelievable.”
Since the death of their son, Emily and Darren have been working with SUDC UK and have launched a charity fundraising event to pay for research and raise awareness.
Donations can be made on our fundraising page, along with more information about upcoming events.
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