Heart machine appeal: Two years on since Oakdale teen Jack Thomas' untimely death

South Wales Argus: INSPIRATION: Oakdale teenager Jack Thomas who died after suspected heart failure INSPIRATION: Oakdale teenager Jack Thomas who died after suspected heart failure

TWO years to the day since Jack Thomas died, his parents are still searching for answers.

On February 12, 2012, the 15-year-old tae kwon do star from Oakdale died suddenly of a suspected heart problem while at his girlfriend’s house in Newbridge.

Jack, who stood at a towering 6ft 3in, had no previous health issues and was training towards the European Championships at the time of his tragic death.

An inquest at Gwent Coroner’s Court ruled that the Oakdale Comprehensive student died of natural causes, but the specific cause of death could not be identified, leaving his parents in the dark as to how his life came to such an untimely end.

Samples of his DNA were later sent to the St George’s Hospital in London for tests as part of a big study to see whether there is a genetic link to the sudden death of a fit and healthy youngster.

But 18 months on, both Grant Thomas, 44, and June, 46, are yet to hear anything.

The Argus has teamed up with Mr and Mrs Thomas to try and get defibrillators into every Gwent secondary school in memory of Jack.

The parents will have a gathering of friends and family at their Oakdale home today in memory of their son to mark two years since his passing.

Mrs Thomas said: “We’ll be spending time with the family. I can’t come in to work, and neither can Grant – it’s too hard.

“Last year, a lot of Jack’s friends came to the house – they have been fantastic. We will all talk about Jack because we just don’t want him to be forgotten.

“It’s still too raw – sometimes I think to myself, ‘has it really happened?’ Sometimes I don’t feel like going out of the house. We know Jack’s gone, but we can’t really move on because we still don’t know what happened.”

She said their youngest son, 14-year-old Owain, was hit hard by the news, but has been strong throughout.

“Jack was his big brother and his best friend,” added Mrs Thomas. “But Owain keeps strong for Grant and I – he’s our little gem.”

The family will visit Jack’s “garden” today and will place flowers to mark two years since the tragic incident.

Last year, his parents presented his former high school, Oakdale Comprehensive, with a heart defibrillator with money raised themselves.

Now, the potentially life-saving machine could be handed out to every secondary school in the area with the support and generosity of our readers, and the collaboration of secondary schools, as part of Jack’s Appeal.

l Anyone who wishes to make a simple donation to Jack’s Appeal, or donate the proceeds of a fundraising event, can send cheques made payable to Welsh Hearts charity, either to its headquarters at Temple Court, 13a Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HA, or to Newsdesk, South Wales Argus, Cardiff Road, Newport, NP20 3QN.

Please write ‘Jack Thomas defibs appeal’ on the back of the envelope.

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