A-K-A-Day in May challenge launched in memory of Kirkcaldy man Robert Rowan
Suzanne Rowan, Robert’s wife, his brother Gary, and three friends have launched the A-K-A-Day in May challenge in memory of Robert Rowan who tragically passed away in 2018 at the age of 28 due to an undiagnosed heart condition.
The challenge is designed to encourage and support participants’ health and wellbeing throughout the month of May and aims to inspire people of all ages and abilities to get out and move for at least one kilometre each day in the month.
Participants can cover the distance any way they choose as long as they cover the daily distance, with all money raised being donated to charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).
As a football-daft 18-year-old, Robert spotted an internet leak of a scouting report Andre Villas-Boas had compiled for Jose Mourinho's Chelsea a few weeks earlier, and he thought he'd have a go at writing one himself before going on to send a copy of his report to every football club in Scotland and England.
It was a move that would earn him scouting roles with Celtic, then the Scotland national team, and a stint as the sporting director of Scottish League One side Stenhousemuir, before joining Brentford in 2014.
At the time of his death from heart failure in November, 2018, at the age of 28, Robert was the Championship club's technical director.
Suzanne said: “Robert passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition shortly after we celebrated our second wedding anniversary.
"He first knew there were irregularities with his heart when he was 16 or 17, and had regular check-ups and screenings but sadly passed away from Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndromes (SADS) which is a genetic heart condition that can cause sudden death in young, apparently healthy, people.
"After his passing I wanted to support a charity in his memory, and chose CRY as they raise awareness of SADS.
“Our friend Lisa Giove came up with the idea for the challenge, and we asked Debbie Millar, Gary Rowan and his partner Rebecca Reader to help try to make it something special in Robert’s honour – Lisa first shared her idea with me on 19th March so it’s been a quick turnaround!”
Suzanne and Robert’s friends and family have made it their mission to help raise awareness of the syndrome to help other families.
"I have met a lot of young widows who have lost their partners to the same thing that happened to Robert,” she said. “If we can even stop one family from losing someone the way we lost Robert it will all be worth it, as well as keeping his memory alive through the challenge.
"As well as raising money for charity, the challenge helps to get people out and about and also helps with their mental health which is more important now than ever with the ongoing pandemic.
"From the challenges conception, to the start of it at the beginning of May has been pretty full on and a lot of hard work, but we’re very pleased with the way it has all come together.
"Robert was a very kind and caring person and this challenge really sums him up.”
For more information about A-K-A-Day in May challenge, please visit: https://www.entrycentral.com/event/115794