A FORMER DJ who was forced to give up his promising music career after narrowly dodging death has told how his newfound love of charity work has turned his life around.
Dad-of-three Ray Rowley was ‘minutes away from death’ after suffering an aortic aneurysm in 2012. The abnormal bulge on his heart could have burst, causing him to bleed to death.
Then aged 26, he was rushed from Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham to Southampton General where he underwent emergency open heart surgery to save his life.
And although he survived, the condition ruined Ray’s career as a DJ – which had seen him perform across Europe – causing him to spiral into depression.
But now the 33-year-old’s life is on the up after having turned his eyes on helping others. He has become a fundraiser for the Poppy Appeal and last week staged his first event, a D-Day ball, raising £620.
‘I couldn’t believe how much we raised, it was absolutely fantastic,’ said Ray, of Tottenham Road, Landport.
Ray’s brush with death left him both physically and mentally scarred, he added.
‘I was 26 years old and had the world at my feet and then all the sudden it all came crashing down,’ he said.
‘I was a DJ on cruise liners and had just started doing the international circuit but I had to end all that because of my health. I was lucky to be alive.’
In a second blow, Ray was diagnosed with another aortic aneurysm, that’s being closely monitored, leaving him with depression.
But instead of accepting defeat, Ray fought back. With the support of his loving wife, Sarah, and their three girls, Libbie, 11, and twins Lottie and Maizie, five, he set up his charity fundraiser.
Held at Portsmouth’s Marriott Hotel, the ball was a sell-out success. Now he plans to stage a second charity event – a Christmas dinner and dance – at the hotel on Saturday, November 23.
Ray added: ‘The D-Day Ball made a lot of difference. It took me out of this dark place.’