Fam­ily’s do­na­tion pays trib­ute to Ale­cia

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - Gio­vanni Torre

SU­BI­ACO’S King Ed­ward Memo­rial Hos­pi­tal re­ceived a gen­er­ous do­na­tion from a fam­ily in hon­our of a muchloved rel­a­tive who died from sud­den ar­rhyth­mic death syn­drome (SADS).

Wendy and Dar­ryl So­foulis, along with sons Zack and Matt, trav­elled from Toodyay to King Ed­ward re­cently to present Ge­netic Ser­vices of Western Aus­tralia di­rec­tor Nick Pachter with a $17,000 cheque.

The do­na­tion will be used to sup­port a new cross-dis­ci­plinary clinic that is work­ing to find an­swers for peo­ple with un­ex­plained heart prob­lems.

The do­na­tion came from the pro­ceeds of fundrais­ing ef­forts held in hon­our of Ale­cia So­foulis, sis­ter of Zack and Matt, a 27-year-old who died un­ex­pect­edly and with­out warn­ing of sud­den ar­rhyth­mic death syn­drome in 2011.

Ale­cia was a chi­ro­prac­tor who reg­u­larly gave her spare time to tend to in­juries as a vol­un­teer at two foot­ball clubs and a wa­ter polo club. On De­cem­ber 27, 2011 she was get­ting ready for a vol­un­teer job when she died sud­denly.

“She had just had a nap and texted some­body at the club to get the ad­dress of the venue,” her mother Wendy ex­plained. “The venue was about a half-hour from her place in Belle­vue, but she never got there.

“Her boyfriend found her at home the next morn­ing.”

Ale­cia’s death was a dev­as­tat­ing shock for her fam­ily, who just the week prior had cel­e­brated her 27th birth­day.

Wendy said her daugh­ter was a gen­er­ous, out­go­ing and hard­work­ing young woman who had worked two jobs to put her­self through univer­sity.

With a healthy life­style and no fam­ily his­tory of heart prob­lems, Ale­cia’s death was a ter­ri­ble shock.

Al­most six years on, the fam­ily still does not know the ex­act cause of Ale­cia’s death, though it is sus­pected she had a rare ge­netic con­di­tion.

The So­foulis fam­ily is hop­ing that with the help of their do­na­tion, the new clinic, or­gan­ised through Ge­netic Ser­vices WA, will be able to con­tinue to work to find an­swers for fam­i­lies like theirs and po­ten­tially even iden­tify peo­ple at risk so preven­ta­tive mea­sures can be taken.

Wendy said the fundrais­ing be­gan af­ter the lo­cal foot­ball team asked her fam­ily for their bless­ing to hold an an­nual match be­tween Toodyay and Mt He­lena in hon­our of Ale­cia’s ded­i­ca­tion to the clubs.

Money raised from the an­nual foot­ball games and from a But­ter­fly Ball, which Wendy or­gan­ised three years ago, also helped pro­vide four de­fib­ril­la­tors for Toodyay and $2000 for the SADS foun­da­tion SADS Aus­tralia.

The So­foulis fam­ily re­cently do­nated $17,000 to as­sist re­search into un­ex­plained heart con­di­tions.

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