On Saturday 29th August I sat down with the family of a past Degree student of ours Louis O’Neill.
The meeting came around under extremely sad circumstances. We met the day before what would have been Louis’ 25th birthday, but tragically Louis passed away on 3rd June, due to a blood clot (DVT) that had formed in his leg and travelled to his heart.
Louis had completed our Foundation Degree a few years earlier, that we deliver in partnership with the EFL Trust and the University of South Wales, and had a great impact on a number of members of our team due to his dedication and his pride at being involved with the Community Trust. Louis had done many hours of volunteering in local schools as part of our Premier League Primary Stars programme and had also been a participant on our Kicks programme, predominantly at our Revoe site.
Since completing his studies, Louis moved further down south to live with his father Stanley, his step mum and his young sister, and to be closer to his mum Lesley.
Louis had a job at the nearby Centre Parcs and continued to be active and a regular gym goer. He also enjoyed playing video games and kept in contact with many friends online.
However, once the pandemic hit, Louis had been furloughed and spent even more time at home and online, meaning he became less active than usual. As the weeks went on, he started to develop a pain in his leg which unfortunately developed into a blood clot, eventually causing his tragic passing.
A number of my team, both past and present, have been in contact with Louis’ father Stanley to share stories of our experiences with his son and also to support the development of a legacy project his father is leading on, ‘Stand Up For Louis’.
Collectively we now want to use this terrible occurrence to make all young people aware of how important it is to remain active and to avoid staying in an inactive position (sitting, lying) for too many hours at a time.
Once I was made aware of this terrible story it didn’t take much research to find that Louis’ story actually isn’t that unusual. With more and more of us playing video games, binge watching Netflix, chatting to friends online or having to work from home, it becomes too easy to not stand up and move around for a few hours, so let’s all use this tragic story to learn from and make sure we regularly ‘Stand Up for Louis’ and keep ourselves fit and healthy.
We will be honouring Louis by developing information boards around our Education facilities and also delivering talks with our own BTEC, Degree and NCS students to start with, and will work with the family to help make as many people as possible aware of how this can happen to anyone.
To learn more about what Louis’s father Stanley and mother Lesley are doing, please visit www.standupforlouis.org