From the moment Sheila Wilson saw her teenage son slumped over on the floor in his bedroom, she knew he was gone.
John Wilson said goodnight to his mother and went to his room to play games on his Xbox before going to sleep on Dec. 27, 2011. Hours later, John’s sister, Caitlin, went into her brother’s room to tell him that breakfast was ready. When she opened the door, she noticed the teen slumped over on the floor.
“She came back down and said something wasn’t right with John,” Wilson told the Daily Record.
“I ran upstairs and found him slumped by his couch on the floor with his game on pause. His earphones were still in his ears playing music. My knees felt weak and everything went into slow motion because I knew instantly he was gone.”
Wilson opened up to the Daily Record about her son’s death in an effort to raise awareness about Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS). SADS, a term used to describe certain causes of cardiac arrest, can occur during or after sleep, as well as after exercise.
“I was told John had died from a condition called sudden adult death syndrome and I didn’t know what that was,” Wilson said. “There were no warning signs, no health problems. John had always been very health conscious and didn’t smoke or drink.”
Wilson said that on the night of John’s death, the family celebrated their young son recently being offered his dream job as an online game tester.
“We had a lovely family Christmas and had been celebrating John getting the job he had always wanted,” Wilson said. “I didn’t understand how someone so young and so full of promise could be so easily snatched away.”
Wilson said she hopes that people will educate themselves on the realities of SADS, which reportedly affects at least 12 healthy young adults in her home country of Britain every week.
“There needs to be more awareness and research of SADS to help provide families like mine with better answers.”