United in Grief Walk raises awareness and funds for the charity
Two bereaved Dads, Craig Ferguson and James Deveney, climbed Ben Lomond in Scotland in memory of their children.
Craig’s son Aston died from SUDEP in August 2014.
"Aston, or Aston Tails as he was known, was diagnosed when he was 11, and was seizure free for two years before he passed away. In all the years he had it, we didn't know anything about SUDEP. People just aren't aware of it. I was speaking to him on the Friday night and on the Saturday he was gone. He died in his sleep aged just 20.” Craig said.
James' daughter Ashleigh was 23 when she died in 2013. Ashleigh was working away from home in the Greek Island of Kos when she contracted a virus and passed away after suffering multiple heart attacks.
Craig wanted to contribute to SUDEP Action to help raise awareness of the condition which took his son's life while James wanted to raise funds for a charity in his daughter’s memory.
The two Dads decided to join forces and do a sponsored walk up Ben Lomond in memory of their children. They both contacted Rangers FC and Celtic FC, who kindly donated a football top to both of them.
"We decided to call the walk United in Grief to show that Rangers and Celtic fans can unite in bad times. The support from both sets of fans has been phenomenal.” James said.
The two Dads completed their walk on 4 June, Aston's birthday. The day brought a range of emotions for his father Craig, but he explained that spending the occasion conquering such a feat helped him get through it.
"People were at the top of a mountain handing us money. It was an incredible day, and I even joked to James at the top 'that's 1-0 to Rangers, I beat you."
"People were stopping us and couldn't understand why we were in Rangers and Celtic shirts climbing together. It was emotional. If we were two guys wearing two ordinary t-shirts the photos of us at the top would've meant nothing, but the football shirts mean much more."
Craig and James have raised over £1, 295 which will be shared between the two charities.
"We never expected this to go as far as it has, it's been unbelievable, really. At the start, we both said we'd be happy to raise a few hundred pounds, but we never imagine it would be like this - it's crazy," explained Craig.
Craig added: "Losing our children leaves an unbearable pain and we live with it every day. It's all about learning to live with it, I thought I would never have to deal with it in my lifetime. I miss him, I miss him badly.
"I just hope Aston and Ashleigh are looking down and see what we've done."
Their Just Giving page stops on 20 July, Ashleigh’s Anniversary.
Scottish Daily record