Lil Red’s parents fight to raise awareness with new documentary

by Sylvia Pownall
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The heartbroken parents of a young rapper who died of sepsis have released a documentary about their son’s sudden death as a warning to others.

Mum Karen and dad Joe want to help raise awareness after losing their 15-year-old son, Sean ‘Lil Red’ Hughes, to the silent killer in January 2018.

The couple have devoted their spare time to the awareness campaign – Lil Red’s Legacy – giving talks in schools and at community events in their native Finglas.

The documentary was screened in Dublin earlier this month and has already been viewed thousands of times on YouTube.

Joe said: “At the end of the day, Sean’s death was preventable. Sepsis awareness equals saving lives.

“Seven people die of sepsis in Ireland every single day.”

Joe and Karen had never heard of sepsis before their boy’s death – and they believe this is the case for most Irish people.

The illness is caused by the body’s response to chemicals released into the blood stream to fight infection.

Often misdiagnosed, sepsis kills more than 3,000 people in Ireland each year – that’s more than prostate, breast and bowel cancer combined.

Sean, who was being treated for a chest infection, was watching TV at home when he suddenly lost consciousness on January 11, 2018. He was rushed to Temple Street Hospital but died the next day.

The family have had posters displayed on buses and in Lloyds’ pharmacies warning people to look out for the warning signs, which include slurred speech, shivering, extreme pain, discoloured skin, sleepiness and shortness of breath.

To date, 11 families have contacted Joe and Karen to say the campaign helped save a loved one’s life – and the couple believe the true figure to be a lot higher.

Urging the Government to do more, Joe said: “We don’t have any budget but we’re doing our best.

“We’re just two ordinary working-class people getting friends and family to help us out. We’re saving lives with good will and a few pennies.”

He added: “Sean was just months off his sixteenth birthday when he died, and our world will never be the same again. But helping others is what he would have wanted.”

Watch the documentary here.

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