Brave teen dies after wait for new heart

Toby Snape from Euxton who died of a rare heart condition
Toby Snape from Euxton who died of a rare heart condition
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A courageous teenager has died from the same heart condition that killed his brother.

Toby Snape, 19, has been described by his heartbroken family as a man with strength and dignity, who fought until the very end.

Toby, of Laurel Avenue, Euxton, was diagnosed with a rare heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy when he was just 13.

It is the same condition that claimed the life of his brother Shaun on Boxing Day 2006, when he was 15.

Toby died in hospital on Friday, after undergoing pioneering treatment to try to keep his heart working while he was waiting for a transplant.

His aunt Shirley Taylor, also of Euxton, said: “The one thing we take from everyone’s messages about Toby was his courage.

“He was such a brave man.

“At his brother’s funeral he knew he was ill himself, but he carried his coffin. Not once did he break down.

“He was so dignified, and so marvellous.

“Toby was ill for all his teenage years, but he never complained and never moaned, he just got on with it.

“He missed his brother, but he just had so much strength. We never saw him sad. He was always playing pranks and joking about.”

In 2010, Toby was fitted with a mechanical pump which helped his failing heart, but he was told later how his only hope was a transplant.

Despite his illness, he continued to study hard at Runshaw College, taking maths, physics, chemistry and biology, gaining top grades.

He had already been accepted at a number of local universities, including the University of Bolton, and had hopes of a career creating video games.

Shirley said: “He wanted to do well in his exams. He was such a clever lad. Not just academically, but in his character too. Nothing phased him.

“He couldn’t be a normal teenager and do what normal teens do, like go to the pub drinking, but he never wanted to either. He was just a family man.

“Shaun had a completely different character, they were like chalk and cheese. But they were still very close.”

Toby was taken ill in January, and transferred to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, where he stayed for two weeks.

He was admitted again two weeks ago with an infection, and he died after undergoing the procedure.

Shirley said: “Toby was the sort of person who would listen to things, stand back, and come out with more sense than you’d ever heard in your life.”

- For the full story, see this week’s Chorley Guardian.