A fit and healthy Hale schoolboy has died aged just 17 not realising he had a rare and undiagnosed heart condition that usually affects elderly men.
A-level student Harry Dubois collapsed while watching TV at home with his father and passed away in hospital earlier this month.
Tests revealed the privately educated teenager, a talented musician and actor, had suffered aortic dissection – a rupturing of the largest artery in the human body.
The condition usually affects men aged 65 and over who have a history of high blood pressure and is deadly at a rate of around two in every 100,000 per year.
Now a fund-raising page set up by Harry’s family with the British Heart Foundation has already raised more than £10,000 as they campaign for more money to be spent on researching sudden heart defects among young men.
TRAGIC: Harry died from an undiagnosed heart condition
Harry attended the prestigious Cheadle Hulme independent school near Manchester and had been offered a place at Birmingham University to read American studies.
His father Mario, 52, a BBC executive from Hale, near Altrincham, said: ”Harry had a very busy life and social life and there was nothing at all to indicate there could be anything to worry about.
”There must be young kids and their families who could get better support to find the potential cause of what killed Harry.
”He was a lovely boy and was just the most thoughtful and caring person and he brought joy and sunshine into people’s lives.
”He was quite a character across the school and not just in his school year. We have had hundreds of cards and letters. He used to help younger children with music.
”He was one of those characters that was thoughtful and kind and very happy which has been comforting in what has been a horrendous two weeks following his death.
”The reaction from friends and fellow pupils has confirmed what we already knew ; what a fantastic person he was and how loved he was.”
Harry, a keen singer and guitarist, was studying English Language, English Literature and Politics and at his school performed in stage productions of The Sound of Music and Annie.
‘LOVED BY ALL’: Harry was popular at Cheadle Hulme independent school
The tragedy occurred two days after Harry had complained of a pain in his back. It was thought he had pulled a muscle and he took some painkillers but just 48 hours later he became unwell and was rushed into hospital.
His mother Debbie, 46, a production executive for BBC Sport, said: “Harry initially didn’t complain of pains in his heart or chest, he said it was his back.
”But it seems the reason why he had the pain on his back was because the aorta runs near the spine. On the night he collapsed, the ambulance arrived quickly and they were in the house for quite some time trying to revive him.
“They took him to A&E and doctors tried for another thirty minutes there but couldn’t revive him. What happened to Harry was just a bolt from the blue.
“Nobody would have thought to look for the condition he had.”
Mrs Dubois added: “If you were happy, Harry was happy. He just had the most infectious giggle and laughed all the time and sometimes you didn’t know what the joke was but you laughed along with him. He always made people feel happy and was always smiling.
“At his funeral we asked people to donate to the fund raising site rather than bring flowers.
”We have received so many cards and letters from friends we never even met telling us stories about Harry, how thoughtful and kind he was, and numerous things he did for people.
FUNDRAISING: Money raised will be donated to the British Heart Foundation
”It has been overwhelming but comforting too to know how loved he was by everyone.”
Miss Lucy Pearson, headmistress at Cheadle Hulme, said: “Harry was a dearly loved and trusted friend, showing remarkable compassion and understanding through his work as a peer mentor, coaching younger students through their first year at the school.
”His passions lay in music and drama and he was a valued cast member of many school productions and singing groups.
“The way in which the school community has come together to grieve for him and to celebrate his life has been humbling and inspiring.”
To donate to Harry’s British Heart Foundation page visit: http://lastinghope.bhf.org.uk/harryduboisfundraising
Pictures courtesy of Facebook