Friends and family of Aidan Sutherland celebrated his life by holding a memorial football match in October.
Aidan was a keen footballer and fan of Raith Rovers, and the match was played at Stark’s Park in front of a crowd of 1,100 packed the stands to show their support.
Aidan, of Kirkcaldy, Fife, had type 1 diabetes and died just two days after his 20th birthday on 3rd July, due to complications of a hyperglycaemic episode (high blood sugar levels).
While Aidan’s family and friends were aware of how to treat the symptoms of hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels) they did not recognise the symptoms of hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels).
To raise awareness of the dangers of this complication of diabetes Aidan’s family chose to support DRWF and organised a number of fundraising events. So far around £15,000 has been donated to DRWF as a result of the amazing fundraising activities that have taken place.
The memorial match for Aidan was contested between Kirkcaldy YM and Steadings AFC and the sides featured many of Aidan’s friends and team mates. Well-known former professional footballers also took part, as the match featured a guest appearance by former Raith Rovers player Colin Cameron, who also played for Scotland, Heart of Midlothian and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Also involved was Darren Dods, a friend of Aidan’s family, who played for Hibernian, St Johnstone, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Dundee United and Falkirk.
At the memorial match, as team captains Ben Graham and Connor McManus lead their teams out, Connor displayed the Steadings’ team shirt with a newly introduced club crest “AS5”, in memory of Aidan. The Steadings team honoured Aidan by retiring his number 5 shirt. The match itself raised more than £10,600.
John introduced Aidan to Raith Rovers early in his life and Aidan also played for several youth football sides around Fife. Last season he was a member of the Kirkcaldy YM Colts Under-19s side who were crowned League Cup Champions.
John said: “As a four-year-old, Aidan would take the short walk up the Pratt Street hill to Stark’s Park with me, not knowing that this club, Raith Rovers, would become all that mattered on any given Saturday afternoon. Aidan would take in every game possible and in 2014, some 13 years later, he witnessed his first national cup triumph – Raith Rovers winning the Scottish Challenge Cup Final against Rangers.
“Raith Rovers can pride themselves on being a family club with rich community spirit. When I had to announce to them that Aidan had passed away, a plaque at his seat in the stand was agreed without questioning and the stadium gates opened to my wife and I for times of reflection and mourning. Sat by our boy’s seat we could take strength knowing he would always be watching over his team.
“The Memorial Day was full of love and support. The attendance, approaching 1,100 who gave up their day filled me with pride. As the game produced goal after goal played in a competitive tempo, my attention would be taken to all that was going on around me on this truly memorable day.
Aidan’s parent John and Lin continue to fundraise and have been selected to take part in the 2018 London Marathon on 22 April. Donations can be made here towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.