Laura's memory turns life saver
A GRIEVING family has raised thousands of pounds to buy a life-saving machine to make sure other parents do not have to live with pain like theirs. Robi and Kate Fox from Borrett Place, Woodbridge have thrown everything into raising the £12,000 needed for an ECG machine for a doctors in the town after their teenage daughter died three years ago.
By Jessica Nicholls
A GRIEVING family has raised thousands of pounds to buy a life-saving machine to make sure other parents do not have to live with pain like theirs.
Robi and Kate Fox from Borrett Place, Woodbridge have thrown everything into raising the £12,000 needed for an ECG machine for a doctors in the town after their teenage daughter died three years ago.
Laura Fox was just 13 years old when she died suddenly after they returned from a family holiday to France.
She was found dead in her bedroom minutes after going upstairs to get ready for a game of tennis.
Unbeknown to her devastated family, the bubbly, sporty youngster had been suffering from a heart problem that can kill between four and eight young people every week.
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Since Laura's death in August 1998 friends, colleagues and family have rallied round to raise the money for the machine that could detect the problem in youngsters early on and therefore save their lives.
The machine was donated to the Framfield House Doctors Surgery in St.John Street, Woodbridge.
In the June following Laura's death, Robi, a policeman with Suffolk Constabulary, and a group of friends completed the three peaks challenge – to climb the three highest peaks within England, Scotland and Wales including Ben Nevis and Mount Snowdon within 36 hours.
Laura's twin brother, Mark, who is now 17 also completed a triathlon to raise money and awareness about the condition.
A colleague of Mr Fox also set up a 'dunk tank' which is used to soak senior police officers and area commanders of the force at every Police Family Day.
Other people from around the county, touched by the family's tragic story have also continued raising money.
Mr Fox said: "There is an elderly couple in Woodbridge who hold a carol service in their home every year and Father Christmas comes along to take money from people there.
"There is also a lady in Ipswich who raises money by holding garden parties and desk top sales.
"It is fantastic that they give us this much support but it is also a shame that they have to do so."
Mr Fox and his wife are now county representatives for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
The charity was set up by tennis player Mark Cox's wife Alison after their son went to America to play tennis and was routinely screened for the condition.
The screening saved his life and he now runs the CRY website, set up by his mother who said that this should not be happening to people.
Since Mr Fox became involved with the charity, Olympic rower Steve Redgrave has become patron, following a letter from the family – a friend of his also died from a heart condition like Laura's.
Former England cricketer Ian Botham has also recently become a patron.
Mr Fox said the support that he, Kate, Mark and their eldest daughter Sam, 19 had received from the charity was immeasurable.
Now they have bought the ECG machine they are hoping to set up regular screening tests.
Mr Fox said: "From there we hope to go on to support the national campaign, but it should be the Government doing this and we should not have to rely on the kindness of others.
"But if we can manage to stop one family going through this then we have to carry on."