Anne Soper and Tracy Bush launch fundraising campaign in memory of their sons who died from heart conditions

Tracy Bush and Anne Soper with some knitted mice and a CMA collection tin outside Poppies Tea Room, Pickering

Mike Soper

Leon Bush

First published in News by

TWO mothers whose sons died from heart conditions have launched a fundraising campaign.

Anne Soper, from Pickering, is marking the 10th year since the death of her son, Mike, by encouraging people to knit or sew mice to raise money for the Cardiomyopathy Association (CMA). Cardiomyopathy is a common medical cause of sudden death in people under 35s.

Anne is being supported by Tracy Bush, owner of Poppies tearooms in Burgate, Pickering, whose son Leon died from a similar condition in 2006. Mike was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy on the day he was born, in 1982.

“He was also profoundly deaf and developed scoliosis, but despite all this Mike enjoyed his life and by the time he died at the age of 21, he could drive his own adapted car and had just moved into a flat of his own,” she said.

Anne said that because it was 10 years since Mike had died, she was keen to mark the anniversary by raising money and awareness for the CMA, which supports families affected by heart muscle diseases,. by asking people to make “mice”.

“Mike’s Mice is a fundraising project where people can give a small amount of time or money and the aim is for people to make mice, which can be sold for a minimum £1 donation,” said Anne.

“A lot of people do marathons or parachute jumps to raise money, but I wanted to do something where a lot of people could do a little bit to raise funds.

“I am a keen knitter so that is where I started. My mouse finger-puppet knitting pattern takes a very small amount of wool and can be completed in minutes, as can the felt mouse. We need lots more people to make mice.”

Tracy said: “We did not know anything about Leon’s condition. He was a fit and well young man. The day he died the weather had been really hot and he had been swimming in a river and later sent me a text to say he wasn’t feeling well,” she said. “My phone wasn’t working properly, so I thought I would talk to him in the morning but that was the last contact we had.”

Tracy said the family had been left in utter turmoil.

“No parent should go through the death of a child and while you have to let them go and do their own thing, no one expects them to die in their sleep,” she said.

“The pain never goes away, you gradually learn to live with it.”

Tracy said it was Leon’s death that prompted her to take on the tearooms. “It made us realise that if you have a dream or a plan in life you have to go for it,” she said.

Tracy said that when Anne had first suggested the idea of Mike’s Mice she thought it was a fantastic idea. “I loved it. It is something everyone can do and people have started to make all sorts of mice, including brooches.”

Mice patterns are available at www.cardiomyopathy.org

Money and any mice made can be donated at Poppies tearooms, The Sun Inn, in Pickering, Gazette & Herald office, in Yorkersgate, Malton, or send money to www.michael.soper.muchloved.com or to the CMA, marked Michael James Soper Tribute Fund.

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