Kenny and Maralyn Bowen lost their 19 year-old son, Ian, to Sudden Death Syndrome in 1996. They now spend their time counselling others and raising funds for the Surrey-based charity CRY - Cardiac Risk in the Young.
Why and when did you become involved with CRY? Maralyn saw a magazine article about Sudden Death Syndrome in healthy young people. We contacted CRY, and subsequently received excellent counselling from them. Maralyn decided to take the CRY counselling course and I began to raise funds for the charity.
How much time do you give per year? I work about ten hours a week, researching grant-making trusts, creating brochures and sending handwritten letters. I have raised £300,000 in five years, having written to 1,500 Trusts, 125 companies, millionaires and sports clubs. Maralyn organises the local fundraising events for Ian's memorial fund, which has raised £28,000.
She assists CRY's Talking Point counselling scheme for newly bereaved parents. She also organises local heart screening sessions.
What do you feel you bring to the charity? Being able to tell newly bereaved parents that there is peace and light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel. I am also thick-skinned in my search for funds and I am no longer let down by people who can't help.
Do you think small charities receive enough support? CRY finds it hard to attract big corporate sponsors and Lottery money, which always seems to go to larger charities. But it has had great support from volunteers - usually family or friends of someone who has died from Sudden Death Syndrome - whose motivation to raise funds is vast.