On a day when it definitely should have been snowing, we hit the city streets to…
It’s a family’s worst nightmare—the loss of a loved one at 21 years of age with no answers as to why.
But this was the reality Merissa and Carly Devine (pictured above) faced when their younger brother Shane passed away suddenly in March 2019. Some months later, the coroner informed the family that Shane had been a victim of Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD).
One of the biggest killers of Australians under 50, SCD can occur with no warning and affects young people who are regarded as fit and healthy, without any documented heart issues. Every week, three Australians under the age of 35 lose their lives to SCD.
“We had absolutely no idea that this kind of thing could happen, especially to someone to young,” says Carly.
“I began researching it relentlessly and came to realise that it was in fact quite common in places like the UK and US who have dedicated foundations to the cause, but not much here in Australia.”
Carly describes Shane as “heavily into” fashion, with a job at Ken Cook menswear and dreams of his own apparel line that Carly says “would give Yeezy a run for his money”.
“He knew every high-end designer, how they started, what materials they used and how they were made down to the stitch and layers. He was in the middle of enrolling to university to study business and hoped to start his own label one day.”
To celebrate Shane’s passion and raise awareness for SCD, Carly and Merissa have launched BLK HRT, a Canberra-based clothing line which will stock streetwear and fitness apparel.
“As Shane’s big sisters we couldn’t just do nothing,” says Merissa. “While we definitely don’t have the same ideas and eye for detail as he did, we wanted to do something to honour his memory as well as raise much-needed awareness for SCD.”
Carly and Merissa’s mission is two-fold—to raise awareness of SCD, but to also encourage young people to “take their precious lives seriously” by getting regular health checks, exercising and eating well, as well as seizing the day, working towards goals and ticking items off their bucket lists.
Launching in October, BLK HRT’s debut collection will feature hoodies, tees, cosy track pants and socks, with a FIT line of women’s workout tights, shorts and crops, and men’s tanks launching soon after.
All clothing will be made here in Australia, which means COVID has pushed back BLK HRT’s production processes and launch date. However, Carly and Merissa’s commitment to honouring Shane’s memory has not wavered.
“With every item sold and worn we only hope that it will spark conversation and spread the word about how this disease can affect you or a loved one,” says Merissa.
“Currently three Aussies under the age of 35 are falling victim to SCD every week. We want people to understand that this could happen to them or a family member but most importantly it can be prevented.”
“If anything, we hope that by wearing the apparel, conversations are started and Shane’s name is never unspoken.”
For more information on Sudden Cardiac Death, see blkhrt.com.au/about-scd
What: BLK HRT
When: Launching October 2020
More information: blkhrt.com.au