A woman whose boyfriend died unexpectedly from a stroke aged just 31 has revealed her heartbreak at losing her ‘absolute dream man’.
Lucy Brassington desperately tried to revive Jamie de Groot when he suddenly fell unconscious at their flat in Tooting, southwest London.
She performed CPR until paramedics arrived and after 35 minutes, his heart started beating again.
But doctors delivered the devastating news that Jamie – who was fit and healthy with no major medical problems – had suffered a ‘catastrophic’ bleed on the brain.
Tragically, the software programmer was declared brain dead and his life support was turned off the day after he was rushed to hospital, on January 27 this year.
Recalling the ordeal, Lucy, 31, told Metro.co.uk: ‘It was just like a normal day, I was working downstairs in my studio and he was working in the front room.
‘He came and spoke to me, it was a normal conversation, he was completely fine.
’Fifteen minutes later I heard this really loud sound, it sounded like a snore.
‘I thought “what is that”, then I heard it again.
‘I thought, Jamie doesn’t snore, and no way he could be in such a deep sleep.
‘I sprinted up the stairs and he was sat on the sofa, unconscious with his eyes closed and his arms down by his sides.’
Lucy, who runs fashion accessories brand, Custard Cloth, later learned the snoring sound was Jamie trying to breathe while his lungs were closing.
‘I was beside myself,’ she recalled. ‘I screamed at him; I was telling him to wake up.
‘Literally in that moment I saw our whole futures ripped away. I knew he was dying.’
But thanks to Lucy’s bravery, family members were able to bid a final farewell to their beloved Jamie.
She said: ‘When we arrived at the hospital, a really lovely lady said to me, “there isn’t anything you could have done but you gave him time for people to say goodbye to him.”
‘People came in to say goodbye but had to go in in twos because of coronavirus.
‘They also let me get in the bed with him. He couldn’t hold my hand but it was so nice to have that time.’
Doctors say Jamie suffered a very rare stroke called a spontaneous subarachnoid haemorrhage, where bleeding occurs in the brain, triggered by the rupture of an aneurysm.
But they have no idea why this happened to him.
Around 4% of the population are said to have a brain aneurysm but they often go undetected as they often have no symptoms – and there are no screening programmes to identity them.
Now Lucy is determined to increase awareness and has so far raised more than £13,000 for stroke research at the UCL Institute of Neurology, smashing her £500 target.
Focusing on the JustGiving fundraising campaign is helping her cope with her grief.
‘We want to make sure everyone knows Jamie’s story,’ she said.
‘We need more research, this can happen to anyone and it is terrifying.’
The couple met at a house party five years ago, Lucy told Metro.co.uk.
‘Me and Jamie were just unbelievably happy and in love. I had found my absolute dream man. We had so many plans,’ she revealed.
‘We talked about marriage and kids, we were looking forward to getting a mortgage together, getting engaged and starting a family.
‘I found some notes on his phone he had written for his wedding speech.
‘We planned to do all these things. We had such a good relationship.
‘I still can’t believe he has gone; I still think he is upstairs, I keep thinking my children will be our children.’
And Lucy admits she feels angry Jamie was snatched away ‘without any explanation’.
‘I feel really angry, why him, he was just the best person in the world, he was just so kind and so thoughtful,’ she added.
Lucy told how everyone would remember how Jamie always greeted everyone with a big smile or hug.
His many interests included snowboarding, scuba diving, rock climbing, surfing and learning Japanese – which Lucy hopes to honour by travelling to Japan.
‘He cared about everyone so much, he had so many friends,’ she added.
‘But he was so modest. He had no idea how blooming handsome he was. He really loved and supported me so much with my business.
‘He was honestly the best guy in the world, I have never met anyone with more good qualities than him. I will always want to talk about him to people I meet in the future.
‘The only solace I think is that it was instantaneous, he wouldn’t have been in any pain. He was gone pretty much straight away.
‘I can’t just stop existing; I have to keep putting one foot in front of another.
‘Every day is not linear but if I have an ok day, I hold onto that.’
Professor of Neurology, David Werring, and colleagues at UCL Queen’s Square Institute of Neurology, are working to learn more about how and why aneurysms develop and rupture.
For more information about the research and Lucy’s campaign click here.
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