The family of a young dad who died of heart disease just a year after his son was born are taking on a charity challenge to raise money for life-saving research in his memory.
Adam McKnight and his fiancée Dannika were due to get married and had been celebrating the birth of their baby boy when Mr McKnight died suddenly in 2016.
The 28-year-old, from Motherwell in North Lanarkshire, had gone to hospital with chest pains and later suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.
Now, as Mr McKnight’s family and friends mark the fifth anniversary of his death, they’ve signed up to take part in this year’s virtual Kiltwalk in support of the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
Linda Dykes, Dannika’s mum, said: “Adam was and still is the best dad and fiancé that anyone could have asked for.
“His memory carries on in his son, Blane.
“He died of ischemic heart disease but had no idea he had it – it was all so sudden. He went to hospital with pains in his chest, went into cardiac arrest and never woke up.”
Heart and circulatory diseases cause around 50 deaths each day in Scotland and across the country an estimated 700,000 people are living with the daily burden of these conditions.
Mr McKnight’s family has already raised more than £1500 for the BHF, which is the largest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory diseases in the UK.
During the first lockdown last year, Ms Dykes and her niece Siobhan set themselves the challenge of walking 26 miles in 12 hours – taking in a local route from Carfin to Carluke and back, and then from Carfin to Motherwell and back.
They are now preparing for this year’s virtual Kiltwalk in April.
Ms Dykes added: “We are supporting the BHF so that other families are spared the heartache of losing a loved one in such tragic circumstances.
“This shouldn’t have happened to such a young, fit man and we’re determined to do everything we can in Adam’s name to help others.”
The family’s efforts come at a critical time for the BHF and the charity is hoping to encourage its biggest ever team of fundraisers to sign up for the virtual Kiltwalk this spring.
The last 12 months have been the hardest in the BHF’s 60-year history. The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on its income, and as a result, research funding had to be cut in half this year.
James Jopling, head of BHF Scotland, said: “Our research in Scotland and across the UK to help save and improve lives is only made possible thanks to wonderful supporters like Linda and her family, and we need the public’s support now more than ever.
“The closure of our shops during lockdown and the cancellation and postponement of traditional fundraising events means we are facing our biggest ever challenge.
“Cutting research funding will impact the development of new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating heart and circulatory diseases and we cannot allow the progress we have made over the last six decades to slow.
“That’s why we’re so inspired by Linda’s family and friends, fundraising for us in Adam’s memory and in these challenging times to help us beat heartbreak forever.”
For more information and to sign up to BHF Scotland’s Kiltwalk team, click here.