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Grieving aunt vows to raise awareness of killer illness
THE grieving aunt of a teenager who suddenly died on a family trip to Wales has vowed to raise awareness of the illness which is believed to have killed her niece.
Rosie Carter, from St Mary Bourne, was found dead in bed at the manor house she was staying in with her family in Tenby, on September 8.
The 19-year-old Nottingham University student was there to watch her aunt Hollie Cradduck take part in a charity triathlon.
But her family kept the news of Rosie’s death from 22-year-old Hollie until she crossed the finish line of the Iron Man extreme triathlon so she would still be able to compete in the event, which involves a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run.
Hollie, who grew up in St Mary Bourne, said: “When I crossed the finish line, my mum told me Rosie had died in her sleep. I was devastated. I was really close to her.”
She added: “I achieved this dream on September 8 in Wales in 14 hours 5 minutes, exceeding my own expectations.
“However, with my euphoria came tragedy – my relief and pride was swept with grief. Rosie was more like a sister to me due to our closeness in age. I was only three when she was born and from a young age we became inseparable and the best of friends.
“Twelve members of my family came to support me that weekend, and we were all faced with this horrific tragedy. My family and I are still grieving.”
Rosie’s family is still waiting to find out the cause of her death, but understand it was a result of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Hollie is now raising funds for, and awareness of, the charity SUDEP.
The Sky News media operator has set herself the daunting challenge of competing in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, in memory of Rosie.
She said: “After what happened, I have made a new lifetime goal and promise to Rosie.”
She is hoping to return to Wales on September 14, 2014, in an attempt to qualify, and said: “With Rosie’s spirit, her constant pride in me and the support of my family, friends and followers I hope to make this dream possible.”
Hollie, who now lives in Buckinghamshire, added: “Rosie would probably think I’m mental but she would be proud of me.”
To donate to Hollie’s effort, visit justgiving.com/Hollie4Kona.
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