THEY were just a normal loving family who cherished the best in life.
But their world was shattered by the sudden death of their beloved Liam McKay, who died at the age of 25.
He collapsed last year at his workplace, the Southern Electric call centre in Havant, as he got up from his desk to get a piece of cake during a colleague’s birthday celebration.
He died from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, a condition where the heart suddenly stops.
Now Liam’s family say they are determined to raise awareness about the condition amid a string of charity events being organised by Liam’s large network of friends.
Wearing T-shirts to publicise the charity SADS UK, Liam’s sister Kelly Appleton will lead a group of walkers of all ages along the length of Portsmouth’s seafront.
She hopes to raise hundreds of pounds from the sponsored walk to fund more research into sudden adult death syndrome.
Liam’s brother Nathan died in 1986 at just four months old from sudden infant death syndrome and experts believe the two conditions may be linked.
Kelly, 25, a mum-of-three who lives in Gritanwood Road, Eastney, said: ‘It was a big shock. Liam was only 25 and we didn’t expect it.
‘When he died we thought about doing something, but it was too soon.
‘When we saw other people doing things, we thought as a family we should be doing something ourselves.
‘We wanted to raise some money, so hopefully it can stop people having to go through what we did.’
She said she misses her brother, who lived in Puffin Walk, Wecock, and had a five-year-old daughter Lexie.
‘He was possibly the happiest person I have ever known,’ said Kelly.
‘Nothing could keep him down. He was fun loving and a fantastic dad.’
As previously reported in The News, Katie Parratt, one of Liam’s closest friends, has organised a charity fun day at The Colonial Bar in Horndean, where she is manager.
The event, on Sunday, June 3, will include live music, a bouncy castle and fairground rides and the family hope to raise £600 to send Lexie on holiday to Disney World in Florida.
Liam’s work colleague Emma Cooper shaved her hair off and raised £2,200 to help fund research into the medical condition.
Liam’s father Rick McKay, who is a singer and guitarist, is now planning a charity gig in memory of his son.
The charity walk will be from Eastney swimming pool to Clarence Pier and back and takes places on Sunday, May 6.
To sponsor the walk visit justgiving.com/KellyBean