Teen found dead in bed with beloved dogs by his side was due to start new life in US
An 18-year-old man who was found dead in bed by his mum with his loving dogs by his side was due to start a new life in the United States. .
Craig Darce died of a suspected epileptic seizure at his home and was discovered beside his beloved pet dogs, wolfhound cross Harold and Chihuahua Papi.
His mum, Amy, said he had a seizure in bed and she went to check that he was okay before he fell back asleep, reports the Manchester Evening News.
Three hours later, at about 1pm, she went to check on him again only to find him unconscious. Paramedics were called but he was pronounced dead.
It's thought he may have had a second seizure shortly after the first.
Craig was on the verge of starting a new life in the US with his mum, step-dad, James, and his six younger siblings,
He had dreamed of becoming a pilot, but his condition dashed any of those hopes and the "stubborn" teen instead focussed on working with computers, "adamant" his epilepsy "wasn't going to define him".
His mum, who also has epilepsy, paid tribute to her son.
"He hated being told he couldn't do something [because of his epilepsy]," said the 37-year-old.
"He used to get so frustrated. He'd be like 'why can't I do this? It's not fair'.
"He wasn't like most 18-year-old lads going out boozing all the time. He was a mummy's boy really. He was a gamer. He loved his PC - that was his life.
"He was cocky and stubborn, but he was so happy."
The family, from Rochdale, applied for visas last July to move in with James, a US citizen, in Baton Rouge in Louisiana, but the pandemic and subsequent travel ban meant the application was delayed.
Electrician James, 36, who Craig called dad, said: "He hated having epilepsy, but he was adamant it wasn't going to define him as a person.
"When he found out he couldn't be a pilot he was so angry. We had a talk and said he's got to concentrate on the things he can do in life, not the things he can't. That's when he set his sights on working with computers.
"He built his PC from scratch. He loved fixing problems. He just took off with it. When he got to the States he was going to design the website for my business.
"He was strong-willed and pig-headed, but what 18-year-old isn't?
"When I wasn't here he was the man of the house and he took that responsibility extremely seriously. He was always looking out for his siblings. That's the type of person he was."
Amy says the family now want to help raise awareness of sudden unexpected death with epilepsy, which is known as SUDEP.
Around one in every 1,000 people with epilepsy die from SUDEP every year.
No one is sure what causes SUDEP, and it may differ from case to case, but some some researchers believe that a seizure causes an irregular heart rhythm, while other research has shown that breathing difficulties following a seizure lead to death.
Amy said: "We just took epilepsy for granted as something that was in the family.
"We knew there was a risk of death, but it's so small, you just think it's never going to happen to you.
"We just want more people to be aware of it, so they're not in the position we're in.
"I hate epilepsy right now, I really do."
A crowdfunding appeal has been set up to help pay for Craig's funeral costs.