Sam Standerwick, 25, was a fit guy who exercised almost every day and followed an extremely healthy diet. He found dead in a hotel room by friends after a night out in Liverpool, with tests later revealing his arteries had blockages that resembled a patient with a significant heart disease.
His heartbroken family revealed he had put off a trip to the doctor before the night out even though he had been recently complaining of heart palpitations. Before he left, he told his parents he loved them and said he would see them the following day but he went to sleep and never woke up.
After he died, the engagement ring was found among his possessions at the Arthouse Hotel – revealing he had been planning to propose to his girlfriend Kim Fisher, 22.
According to CDC 325,000 men die from heart disease each year, making it the number one cause of death for men. Now Sam’s family has been raising awareness and money for heart screening programs and defibrillators to be put in every school, sports club, and gym. Their goal is to have 200 people in North Wales screened by this February.
Adrian Standerwick, Sam’s father, told Men’s Health.
“One in 500 people between 14 and 35 have an unknown heart defect and are literally walking around like ticking time bombs, it seems as if it’s a secret that just isn’t talked or written about.”
‘His heart just didn’t have enough power to keep going and just stopped beating in his sleep.
‘We just couldn’t believe it. We had nine weeks to wait for the inquest, and it was driving us crazy thinking: “What is this? Did someone inject him with drugs? Was it a brain aneurysm?”. He had gone to sleep and just never woken up.
‘It’s heartbreaking. If I knew then what I know now, Sam would still be here.’
Sam worked at his father’s CCTV business and was planning to set up his own firm, had been suffering from heart palpitations for months before he died on December 17 last year.
A coroner’s report later revealed the seemingly healthy young man, who worked out most nights and was obsessive about his diet, had a 70 percent blockage in his coronary artery – something commonly seen in people with major heart disease.
Adrian said: ‘The night before he was suffering from heart palpitations, something he had been saying about for a little while every now and again.
‘My wife said to him: ‘You need to get checked over. I will book you an appointment at the doctor’s for tomorrow’.
‘He said: “I’m out with the lads in Liverpool tomorrow, I will do it next week.”
‘He got ready to go out to Liverpool. He said: “Love you, mom, love you, dad, see you tomorrow” and went on his night out.
‘At 25, you would never think that anything’s seriously wrong. When Sam walked out of that door that night it was the furthest thing from our minds. We never dreamed something like that would happen.’
‘The next day Kim, his girlfriend, phoned us asking if we had heard from him.’
The family became concerned when they phoned the hotel where he was staying, and a manager told them there had been a serious incident and police were on the scene.
Later, officers arrived at the family home in Llanddulas to tell them the tragic news.
Two years before his death, Sam blacked out behind the wheel of his car. Although doctors performed an ECG at the time, Standerwick’s family said they didn’t know what the results were.
“At 25, you would never think that anything’s seriously wrong. When Sam walked out of that door that night it was the furthest thing from our minds. We never dreamed something like that would happen,” Adrian Standerwick said.
Since March this year, Sam’s family have raised the money and looking to have 200 people screened next year. They are also raising money for defibrillators and want to see every school and sports club and gym fitted with one.
‘People are dying from this every single week, but people aren’t being informed.
‘I would never wish what we have been through in the last nine months on anyone. But if it means that people will wake up and smell the coffee and do something about it, then it’s worth it.’
You should be aware of the possible signs of a heart problem. These include heart palpitations, dizziness, blackouts, and swelling around the ankles. We urged anyone who is worried, has experienced these symptoms, or has a family history of heart disease to see a doctor.
Join our list
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.