A family have been left devastated after a "caring and selfless" mum-of-four died suddenly at home following a fatal blood clot.

Suzanne Stoakes, 50, put her symptoms down to anxiety, but the next morning two of her children found she had stopped breathing.

Despite her son performing CPR and paramedics trying their best to save her life, Suzanne died in the Port Talbot home she shared with her children Kieran, 22, and Carys, 19.

Oldest son Ashlee Roberts, 28, said Suzanne's death had left a "huge hole" in their family as well as within the local community.



Ashlee with his mum Suzanne

Hoping to raise awareness about what happened, Ashlee said: "On Friday night, May 7 she rang me and said she wasn't feeling too good and that she was finding it difficult to catch her breath and said she was feeling anxious. She wasn't in pain and sounded like she was breathing fine. She went to bed that night and then in the morning, my younger sister called and said she needed me to come down and look at mam because she wasn't well. She was laying in bed and again said she was struggling to catch her breath.

"We called NHS direct and she spoke to a doctor on the phone for a while and he said that it might be anxiety and that they would put her on medication to help with that. She wasn't in pain and had no other difficulties."

Ashlee said his mum then started to get sleepy and told him she wanted a few hours to catch up on lost sleep from the night before.

"She said she would phone me later to let me know how she was," he said. "I went home and then about half-an-hour later my sister rang to say she had stopped breathing and that an ambulance was on its way and that I needed to go back.

"I got there within 10 minutes and the paramedics were there doing what they could. They told me my brother (Kieran) had been doing CPR himself and that it was something to be very proud of. Then they announced [that she had passed] and they weren't sure what had caused it. They did a post-mortem and found that she had deep vein thrombosis which caused a blood clot in her lung some time over that night."



Suzanne with her siblings (left to right) Lee, Julie and Lisa, and in front, her parents Ann and Martin



Suzanne with her children Beckiee, 31, Ashlee, 28, Kieran, 22 and 19-year-old Carys

Ashlee said it came as a "total shock" to him and his three siblings because Suzanne was healthy and active, as well as being someone who had a very young spirit. He said the sudden nature of her death had made it particularity painful.

"It would have been her 51st birthday on June 6. She was was physically fit, she had never driven in her life so she always walked everywhere and kept active," he said. "She lived near the beach so she often would walk the length of the beach every couple of days and sometimes would ride her bike, so it really was a shock."

He described his mother, who was a carer at Alma Lodge care home in Taibach, as being "fun-loving, creative, but most of all very, very caring".



Carer Suzanne with her best friend Zara

He said: "She's always loved caring for other people and always put people before herself. She would take residents she cared for to the hospitals when they needed treatments and would sit with them. She was selfless.

"She'd walk an hour to work every day and do 13-hour shifts, then stay on late overnight because she wouldn't leave them there unless she knew they were comfortable. A lot of people in the community knew her because of the care work she did. Families and friends of the residents would always say to us 'we met your mum last week, she's looking after our dad and she's such a lovely person'.

"She was really fun and very much the life and soul of the party. She had a lot of close friends through her job - one of her best friends, Zara, she met in work and she was about half her age - she was always so young at heart.

"The four of us had a really special sort of bond with our mum. She was our best friend and she would always be involved if us four got together as siblings. We lost our nan to cancer last year and our mother became a rock for everyone. She helped my granddad do his food shopping through the pandemic. She would do anything for anyone and everyone's noticed in the last week how much she really did do for us."

Ashlee said Kieran and Carys are staying with him for the time being, but they are currently raising money to try and help them move back into the house they shared with their mother. Suzanne rented her home and was in the middle of landscaping the garden and making some interior improvements at the time of her death. The family, with the landlord's blessing, hope they can continue this and turn it into the house Suzanne always dreamed of.



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He said: "We want to get my siblings back into her house because my brother and sister live there and they miss their home comforts. My partner and I want to take over the house ourselves. She adored that house and recently she had started working on the garden and she had this idea that she wanted to do. She'd been in talks to get a summer house and do some landscaping. She had been so excited about it but sadly she only got about as far as painting the fence."

Money raised would also go towards Suzanne's funeral costs. Since she was generally healthy and her death was unforeseen meaning no life insurance had been set up. The family also hope to do a memorial, such as planting a tree in one of her favourite locations, because of her love of nature.





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