The Prentice-Underwood family from Redditch, Worcestershire, has been left traumatized once again as they lost their third child in seven years. The family is currently mourning the death of 19-year-old Carrick Prentice-Underwood, who died this past Thursday morning. His 17-year-old brother Craig had passed away four years earlier and his 16-year-old sister Charlotte had died a further three years back.
Charlotte's death was put down to a condition known as Sudden Death Arrhythmia Syndrome (SADS), which leads to the sudden unexpected deaths of adolescents and adults, mainly during their sleep. Usually caused by heart disease or other underlying causes, the only proven treatment is by implantation of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.
Hence, after her death in 2010, her parents have regularly called for defibrillators in schools. They don't plan on stopping now, with their son's death only steeling their fundraising efforts for equipment that could prevent such deaths in the future.
However, when 17-year-old Craig passed away in 2013, tests showed that he had Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, an inherited connective tissue disorder that is caused by defects in a protein called collagen. They now suspect Charlotte had the same ailment.
The family, which has five other children, had Carrick, 25-year-old Christopher, 24-year-old Caroline, and 17-year-old Cameron take tests which proved that they also had the same genetic condition. They are now also said to be pushing for tests for their two younger children, seven-year-old Mitchell, and five-year-old Poppy.
The Underwoods have set up a Facebook page, Charlotte & Craig Saving Hearts Foundation, in memory of their deceased children, and took to it to inform followers of Carrick's death. Saying they were 'heartbroken, numb, and totally lost' after this latest death, the couple has received hundreds of supportive messages, as well as condolences, since the announcement.
A post made on the page read: "It's is with a very heavy heart that we have to say at 1.15 am 11/1/18 this morning we lost our beloved son Carrick...We are heartbroken, numb, and totally lost. Love you so much, son. Why is it always the good ones so much evil and you keep taking our babies."
After Carrick's death, the couple, along with son Mitchell, were seen fundraising for their organization at their local Sainsbury's in Redditch in his memory. Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Underwood said: "We are in Sainsbury's charity of the year and we have a couple of dates set up."
"When it came to it, we thought about canceling but we asked Mitchell what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to go fundraising for Carrick and the charity. It broke our hearts he wanted to do it. It was hard, but a lot of people came up and showed us support and it was really needed. It really helped, all the hugs helped."
Many members of the close-knit community showed up to the event, with the Underwoods particularly touched by the gesture of a little girl named Jaiden Downes. Accompanied by a picture of Downes, a Facebook post read: "Let me introduce you to this amazing young lady, her name is Jaiden Downes. She came in to store today with her mummy & handed me the tub she is holding."
"She heard about our Carrick & wanted to raise some money for our charity. I believe she made some cakes & raised an amazing £29.70. You my young lady, we will never be able to thank you enough. I hope your parents are proud of You, we certainly are. God bless you & hopefully see you soon. Much love from us all at CCSHF."
Friends and supporters of the family have set up this JustGiving page to raise £3,000 to help pay for Carrick's funeral costs, with generous donors already contributing towards £2,580. The description read: "None of us can possibly imagine their pain right now and our hearts are breaking with the horrendous news."
"For any of you that don’t know Maggie and Robert they set up a charity in memory of their children’s deaths, to try and raise money to place defibrillators within our community, to try and save our family and friends from facing the same tragedy they have had to go through."
"They are the nicest most selfless couple I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They do everything for our community to help raise money to save lives, turning their pain into positive things. This will never ever bring him back and I wish I could but it will help so much with a massive cost that is most definitely another worry they don’t need at the moment."
The latest development is that a charity car wash has been planned at the White Hart, Crown Green Suite, on Saturday, January 27.
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