Max Schiller was a happy, vibrant 10 year old boy, looking forward to a new term at school. He loved football, basketball, all things Marvel and his XBOX. He would eat sushi all day given the chance and regularly went to the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal. He and his friends would play Fifa for hours, play and chat about Minecraft and generally do all the things that 10 year old boys do.
During 2015, he began to change, tiring easily and finding some physical activities hard going. After various consultations and appointments he was referred on to Great Ormond Street Hospital for further tests just before Christmas 2014.
He had an ECG and an Echo carried out on his heart and various other muscular tests. The results were inconclusive and so further tests were scheduled for the New Year.
As a family we had a lovely few weeks over the Christmas period and he actually seemed to be improving.
We had a party on New Year’s Eve and we were all looking forward to the year ahead.
On the 8th January 2015 we woke up as a family of four. We went to work and school as usual, not knowing that this was going to be the day that changed our lives forever.
We had dinner, we put Max to bed and wished him goodnight, sweet dreams,love you and see you in the morning as we always did.
When we went upstairs to go to bed two hours later we found our beautiful boy had left us.
We subsequently found out that he had an undetected heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) – a thickening of the muscle wall of the heart. This is a genetic heart condition that does not always display symptoms and consequently is very difficult to detect.
The tests that had been carried out did not pick this up as the abnormal heart rhythms associated with HCM can only really be detected after puberty.
Our lives have been shattered and irrevocably changed forever because of this condition and the fact that it was unable to be detected.
We, as a family, and with the backing and support of family and friends, decided to set up Max’s Foundation as a lasting legacy to Max.
Our aim is to fund research into the detection of heart conditions in pre-adolescent children and to help support those who are affected.
Our hope is that through greater understanding of the condition, young lives can be saved and no other families need be shattered.
If you would like to help us to work towards our goals then you can become one of our amazing volunteers. Have a look at how you can join us.