Hereford & Worcester

Redditch parents mourn third child's heart death

Carrick Underwood Image copyright Underwood family
Image caption Carrick Prentice-Underwood died on Thursday

A couple have said they are "heartbroken" after losing a third child to a rare heart condition.

Carrick Prentice-Underwood, 19, from Redditch, died on Thursday.

It follows the death of his sister Charlotte, 16, in 2010 and 17-year-old brother Craig in 2013.

Parents Robert and Maggie Underwood say they felt "numb" after their loss, but would continue fundraising for equipment that could help prevent future deaths.

The couple have been calling for defibrillators in schools since losing Charlotte.

At the time, her death was put down to Sudden Arrythmia Death Syndrome (Sads).

Image copyright Underwood family
Image caption Charlotte Prentice-Underwood was 16 when she died in December 2010

But when Craig died, he underwent tests which showed he had Vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which causes heart problems.

They now believe that may also have been the cause of Charlotte's death.

Their older children including Carrick, Christopher, 25, Caroline, 24, and Cameron, 17, had tests which showed they had the same genetic condition.

Mr Underwood said they would now be pushing for tests for their younger children, five-year-old Poppy and Mitchell, seven.

He added: "We're just numb, angry, upset."

Image caption Carrick's parents said they felt "numb"

They informed people of Carrick's death in the Charlotte and Craig Saving Hearts Foundation Facebook group.

The couple said: "We are heartbroken, numb and totally lost."

They have received hundreds of messages of support online since the announcement.

Image copyright Underwood Family
Image caption Craig Prentice-Underwood died almost exactly three years after the death of his sister, aged 17

Two days after Carrick's death, the couple and son Mitchell were out fundraising in Sainsbury's, Redditch, in his memory.

Mr Underwood said: "We are the Sainsbury's charity of the year and we have had a couple of dates set up.

"When it came to it, we thought about cancelling but we asked Mitchell what he wanted to do and he said he wanted to go fundraising for Carrick and the charity.

"It broke our hearts, but he wanted to do it.

"It was hard, but a lot of people came up and showed us support and it was really needed. It really helped, all the hugs helped."

Fundraising through their charity has helped to put defibrillators around Worcestershire. They also train people in how to use the devices and in CPR.

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