Family’s donation pays tribute to Alecia
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.