Mum's charity challenge in memory of her son

Nikki Burrows in her garden holding a barrel over her head as part of her training for her charity challenge raising money for CRY in memory of her son Rhys
Nikki in trainng for her challenge

Published on 10 September 2020

A mum will take on a gruelling obstacle race for charity to mark the fifth anniversary of her son’s death.

Nikki Burrows, who lives in Aylesham, near Canterbury, and works as a cancer support worker at the William Harvey Hospital, hopes to raise £250 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) – the charity which provided much-needed advice and support after her son Rhys died suddenly aged just 22.

The cause was Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome, due to an electrical fault with the heart that would have developed in the womb and could have killed him at any time.

Nikki, 46, said: “Our worlds just crashed when Rhys died. It was absolutely awful.

“He had no signs of illness whatsoever, and was never ill as a child. In fact, he was probably the healthiest person I know. 

“At first we thought it was an accident, that he had fallen or something, but when the post mortem found nothing we were told it was his heart.”

She will tackle the challenging Spartan Race in November – a five-kilometre race with 20 obstacles designed to test even the fittest participants. 

Nikki said: “I have never done anything like this before, although I do attend boot camp in Canterbury three times a week.

“The instructor suggested it, but as it’s on the anniversary of Rhys’s death I thought I couldn’t do it. 

“But when I spoke to my family, they said I absolutely could and should do it, and do it for Rhys and for CRY.”

The charity arranged for the rest of the family to be screened for potential cardiac issues following Rhys’s death, and also offered counselling and bereavement groups.

Nikki has already raised £900 thanks to previous fundraising the year after Rhys died, and hopes to add another £250 to that total.

She said: “I’ve got some of the equipment at home, including barrels, sand bags and kettle bells and you’ll often find me in the garden training. 

“My daughters say Rhys would think I was mad, but I think he’d also be very proud.

“He was such a lovely lad, happy go lucky and full of life, and I think we were lucky to have him for 22 years.

“Now I want to do this in his honour.”

To add to Nikki’s sponsorship, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nicola-burrows6