Bike ride honours UOW student's memory

Avril Nadin never met Cameron O'Brien but when she saw his photo, she recognised him straight away from the hallways of the University of Wollongong.

He was a year ahead of her in a law degree. Both were doing double degrees - him commerce; her psychology.

Mr O'Brien was in his fourth year of study when he unexpectedly died. His death, in 2012, was attributed to SUDEP - Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. He was 21.

"I wish I had the chance to meet him, because everyone says what a great guy he was," Miss Nadin said.

"When I met Cameron's dad I just knew I had to do something."

Miss Nadin has organised a 700km fund-raiser pushbike ride - 700 for SUDEP - Cameron O'Brien Memorial Ride - to raise money for research into what causes SUDEP-related deaths, which occur in about one in 1000 people with epilepsy per year.

"SUDEP and SIDS are quite similar - they both devastate families - but there's no funding for research into SUDEP," said Miss Nadin, 25, of Carlton.

Miss Nadin became familiar with Mr O'Brien's story last year when she received a bursary established in his memory.

Herself beholden to a challenging health condition - thought to be the neuromuscular disease Myasthenia Gravis, which causes fatiguing muscles - she broke down at the bursary presentation ceremony after Mr O'Brien's father, magistrate Chris O'Brien, addressed the room.

"Just seeing his dad and how devastated their family was - you sit there and think, that could have quite easily been me."

The fund-raiser ride begins in Cooma and covers 700km over seven days, with a shorter, two-day course for weekend riders.

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