The Noosa family, and the triathlon community, is in mourning with the passing of 45 year old Noosa Triathlon legend, Redcliffe triathlete and loving family man Sam Horan, whose story is one of immense passion, love and devotion, between mother and son, husband and wife, father and children and also a man and his sport.
The family migrated from Brighton in England when Sam was eight and settled in Redcliffe. One of four children, he was an only son and over the years he had a very special bond with his mother Ann, who recalled that his obsession with sport started at his tenth birthday at the local skating rink. The whole family enjoyed speed skating and were competitive in the sport.
Sam then developed a passion for cycling riding for Balmoral Cycling Club and then into triathlons. His first triathlon was the Tinman on Suttons Beach at Redcliffe, and he just became addicted as so many people do. Sam was 16 years old when he first competed in the Noosa triathlon and this year would have been his 15th Noosa Triathlon.
Triathlon means a lot to this family. Sam’s mother Ann has competed in 25 Noosa triathlons and would have been competing with her son but for injuries following on from the Worlds at the Gold Coast in September. All Sam’s siblings and his wife Michelle have competed at Noosa and one year there were six family members in the race at one time.
This year however things went terribly wrong. After completing the swim in excellent time Sam took off on the bike but only managed a few kilometres before he felt very unwell and subsequently suffered a major heart attack. Sam was taken to the Noosa Hospital and from there to Sunshine Coast University Hospital. He was on life support for one week but ultimately this was switched off. There was however one small light in all this. Sam was registered as an organ donor and his two kidneys were removed and two recipients were given a new chance at life. Ann is just as proud of her son in death as she was while he was alive, with Sam’s previously unknown decision to register as an organ donor giving others the opportunity for a new life.
Sam was a psychologist and had worked in the area of child guidance, mental health and more recently with refugees on Manus, Nauru and Christmas Island. He was devoted to his wife Michelle and his two daughters Tandia and Sakiyya. He brought joy and laughter to his family, always the fun guy.
His family and friends are all absolutely devastated by his loss, so unexpected and with Sam still so young. His funeral was a real celebration of his life. A couple of hundred people attended followed by a great wake which for some extended until 1am. Sam was very popular and a bit of a lad, a risk taker, lots of fun and but also a wonderful family man. He was a people person and very much the fun guy at school. This was confirmed at the funeral when his mates related stories from their school days. Ann feels that she has not only lost a son but also a best friend. The support of the family, Sam’s wife and two daughters, his three siblings and eight nephews and nieces has been invaluable. Sam’s friends and members of the triathlon community have also made a big difference for them all.
The tradition of having at the very least one family member competing at Noosa will not be lost next year. Sam’s nephew, 17 year old Max, will be flying the flag. Ann is very proud of him and although it will doubtless be a very emotional day, will be cheering him on too.
At the end of the day Sam’s family can find solace in the fact that Sam has been able to give two individuals a new lease of life. They would also be delighted if, as a result of his death and this article, more people would register as organ donors. This can be done online and takes a matter of minutes.
Sam was a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend to so many people. He brought laughter, wisdom and so much love to everyone he met. Sam will be sorely missed by us all.
As the family try to adjust to life without Sam they have set up a GoFundMe page and would appreciate any donation to help out in these difficult times.