Scots mum speaks out after teen son died when hidden rare condition caused seizure during karate


A mum whose superfit 13-year-old son died suddenly after a seizure at karate practice has spoken out to help other grieving families.

Samena Javed’s son Ahmar tragically passed away 10 days after suffering a seizure out of the blue at karate practice.

His family later found out he had a rare condition called AVM – Arteriovenous Malformation – an abnormal connection of veins and arteries.

Sameena, her husband Javed and their family were left alone to deal with the pain of losing their son as there was no support and conversations were often shut down.

Now Sameena wants to make sure that other families are supported when they have lost a child and that there are conversations around bereavement.

Sameena Javed and her son Ayaan, three, at her home pictured with daughter Mariya, 12, and Mohammed Javed
Sameena Javed and her son Ayaan, three, at her home pictured with daughter Mariya, 12, and Mohammed Javed

Speaking in advance of Rare Disease Day on Monday said: “I am sharing my story on the Rare Disease Day website to highlight the impact of losing a child and the need for more research into and awareness of rare conditions.

“Also, I hope this will highlight the need for improved bereavement education and support, lending support to my previous petition to the Scottish Government that compulsory bereavement education should be included in our school curriculum.”

She added: “After all, the only guarantee in life is death. By creating a legacy for Ahmar, we want to educate others about bereavement so that families know it’s OK to talk about it.”

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Ahmar and his heartbroken father Javed

After Ahmar’s death in 2017, Sameena and Javed, who live in Elderslie, set up the charity, Another Star in the Sky, which aims to fund research into rare diseases and help support child bereavement services and create a positive legacy for Ahmar.

Sameena said: “Ahmar’s condition affects just one in 10,000 people, it is rarer than rare.

“We didn’t know Ahmar had this condition. He was always smiling, polite. He was a clever boy, a grade A student with a photographic memory who wanted to be a doctor and who enjoyed sport and martial arts.

“We needed bereavement support but we weren’t offered any.

“I just want people to be aware that it is ok to talk to your children about death and bereavement. It needs to be done in order for other children to understand it and to make people understand why it is so important schools have these conversations.”

In a video, which will be released on Rare Disease Day, Monday February 28. Sameena reads a letter about Ahmar to her son Ayaan, who was born in 2018 and will never get to meet his older brother.

Lauren Roberts, Joint Interim Chief Executive of Genetic Alliance UK, the charity behind Rare Disease Day, said: “This Rare Disease Day we want to make sure that unheard voices are shared.

“Sameena’s story is so important in highlighting the impact that losing a child can have on the whole family and why conversations around bereavement are vital.”

An estimated 300 million people worldwide live with a rare condition. On February 28, Rare Disease Day will be celebrated by people in more than 85 countries across the world.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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