Remembering 'positive, caring and kind' Hornsey pupil Amy
- Credit: Family handout
A 12-year-old girl who died of heart failure in her sleep will be remembered for her love and positivity, her mother says.
Amy India Rose Athwal-Kirby died from sudden arrhythmic death on December 5, despite having no symptoms of the rare syndrome.
Her mother, Beewan Athwal, described the Hornsey School for Girls student as “caring and kind”, and someone who had a “lovely way of making everyone around her feel special”.
The family are now fundraising in Amy’s memory for the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), to try to prevent other children losing their lives in the same way, without warning.
Beewan told the Ham&High: “Amy was just really sweet and kind, and interested in everything.
“Her relationships with her friends and with family were really important to her.
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“She made such an effort to keep everyone close to her. She was funny and she used to make people laugh all the time doing little practical jokes.
“She used to constantly make us little handmade gifts, just to show her love.”
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Beewan said that on Mother’s Day Amy gave her a paper cannister with little messages telling her how great a mum she was, including a polaroid picture of the pair.
After Amy died, Beewan found a video on her iPad, made by her daughter, which she was going to show her family on Christmas Day. The montage of pictures and memories was called “the family that we love”.
At Amy’s funeral, Jack, 19, said his sister was “supposed to be his best friend for life”. The siblings were inseparable, and Amy visited her big brother at his university.
Amy’s passion was musical theatre, and she had acted and danced since she was a toddler, with her debut on stage coming at Jackson’s Lane in Highgate, aged two.
Interested in skateboarding, 1990s fashion and the outdoors, she was also a scout, a member of Hornsey School’s steelpan band, and she had taken up drumming.
In her room she had a paper archery board pinned with the different emotions “fine, “happy”, “great” and “ecstatic”. It was labelled “always aim for positivity”.
Amy enjoyed a “normal day” before she died, including headshot pictures taken for her acting, a dance class, making videos, talking to her friends, and “hanging out”.
The 12-year-old had spoken to her great aunt about going to university, and what she would like to study.
“She ate lunch and dinner well and she watched [the film] 'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' in the evening," said Beewan.
“After that it was the same as usual – she went up to bed, got ready and called down ‘love you’, and she went to sleep.”
Amy’s family, who live in Tottenham, hope her death will raise awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, and the vital research and screening of CRY.
The specialist charity says that at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions every week in the UK.
CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families – including Amy’s.
The family’s fundraiser for CRY has so far received more than £11,000 in public donations, amid an outpour of tributes for the Hornsey pupil.
Her mother said it was really important for her daughter’s tragic death to lead to positive change, in the spirit of her positive view of the world.
“I know that Amy wouldn't want anyone to suffer the way she did, or have anyone else's family go through what we are at the moment,” Beewan said.
“She was so caring. I remember when she was four years old there was a hurricane in the Philippines and she kept going: ‘We've got to give money, don't we? We have to give money.’
“So I just think now, if she knew what happened to her, she'd want to prevent this happening to other children.”
Amy's headteacher, Angela Rooke, of Hornsey Schools for Girls, said the student “had a great future ahead of her and showed huge promise in so many areas”.
“Her loss at such a young age is so devastating,” Ms Rooke said. “Amy’s positive outlook couldn’t help but impact on all who met her.”
The headteacher said her thoughts were with Amy’s family, and that their former pupil would be honoured by the school when the time was right.
To donate to Amy’s fundraiser visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/amyindiaroseathwal-kirby