A devastated husband in the UK has paid tribute to his wife who died suddenly of a cardiac arrest aged just 35 – leaving her two young kids heartbroken.
Welsh woman Gemma O’Shea – who had a heart condition – collapsed suddenly after her in-person routine appointments were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Her husband Lee O’Shea, who had been with Gemma for 14 years and married for five, described her as a “fantastic mum” to their sons Finley, 3, and Mason, 8.
Mr O’Shea said that the death of his wife had come as a shock to the whole family as she seemed “the fittest she had ever been”.
She would usually go into hospital for a routine check-up every six to 12 months but these were being done virtually at the time of her death due to the coronavirus pandemic, he said.
On the day of her death the family were visiting Mr O’Shea’s mother in Barry, Wales, to pick up a storage container.
While there, Ms O’Shea collapsed in the garden. Her husband performed CPR wife but sadly she could not be saved.
“We were travelling down to Barry to pick up a storage box from my mother at her caravan – one of the big ones but it wasn’t very heavy,” Mr O’Shea said.
“It was a muddy back garden so we were going to lift it over the wall. I went around the other side and then the woman next door said, ‘You better come round here, she’s collapsed.’
“And as I walked around then I saw Gemma on the floor just lying there. Basically that was it – she had had a cardiac arrest.
“I worked on her for a while, it was a while before the ambulance got there, but sadly she passed away.
“The boys saw it all because unfortunately they were with me – she had a cardiac arrest because of a leaking valve on her heart.”
Mr O’Shea said that Ms O’Shea had lived with her heart condition for years and outwardly appeared healthy.
“At the time she was fine – or so we thought. It was probably the fittest she’s ever been – she was walking, getting really into fitness. Perhaps she was doing too much exercise,“ he said.
“She had a leaking valve or chamber on her heart and eventually she probably would have had to have an operation on it but it was always monitored by the hospital.
“It’s the thing where Covid strikes again but because she couldn’t go to the hospital to get the check-up she needed.”
As well as her husband Ms O’Shea has left behind her parents Claire and Keith, her two brothers Sam and Nathan, and her beloved sons.
Mr O’Shea says while Finley is too young to understand what has happened properly, Mason has started to feel the loss of his mum.
“My youngest isn’t too bad now, he’s slowly coming through it, but my eight-year-old, Mason, is struggling,” he said.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever do in my life but my family and friends have been great – they’ve all rallied together.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up by family and friends of Ms O’Shea where more than $ 29,000 has been raised for the boys with dozens of people leaving messages of condolence.
Mr O’Shea says that he now wants to raise awareness for what happened to Ms O’Shea to make sure no other families are affected in the same way.
As well as this he also is urging people to consider learning CPR or how to use a defibrillator.
“If your family has one of these conditions then I would 100 per cent say go on a course and try and look into it more because you never know when you might need it,” he said.
“It’s just so important that people do get checked and do learn how to do CPR because you just never know. You’ve got to give yourselves that extra chance before the ambulances get there.”
This story first appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission