Clockwise: Mark Canning (image credit to Siobhan Corria), Terence Canning and Siobhan Corria.

‘I’d never heard of sepsis until my brother died from it,’ says brother who became top UK campaigner

Terence Canning’s brother Mark was 41 when he passed away

THE brother of a man who died from sepsis is now a key voice in Britain’s sepsis fundraising efforts – despite never having heard of the condition before his brother’s passing.

Mark Canning, from Llandaff North, was 41 when he passed away from sepsis in 2012.

His brother Terence had never heard of sepsis before 2012, but today is head of regions at the UK Sepsis Trust. He wants to spread awareness of the symptoms of sepsis.

“I lost my brother to sepsis in 2012 very suddenly and we’d never heard of sepsis at that time so we raise awareness, throughout the year, of the condition and events like today really make the sepsis and Sepsis Trust visible,” the 50-year-old said.

“What we’re trying to do is shine a light on that and let people know what the symptoms of sepsis are so they can react quickly, seek health care quickly and hopefully be treated quickly and have a good outcome.”

The family have been fundraising for the UK Sepsis Trust for 10 years and holding a five-a-side football tournament for the past few years.

This year’s Mark Canning Cup took place on March 5 in Whitchurch and raised over £1,000 for the charity.

The cup started with a one-minute round of applause in memory of Mark.

Terence’s wife, Siobhan Corria, never met Mark but has been supporting her husband in raising awareness.

“I hadn’t met Mark because I wasn’t with my husband at the time but obviously I want to support my husband to keep his brother’s memory alive as much as possible,” the 44-year-old said.

“We’ve been raising awareness of sepsis through social media mostly and raising money through fundraising events every year.”

The family chose a football tournament as Mark was an avid football fan.

Terence said: “My brother was a big football fan, a big Liverpool fan, so there’s a little bit of him in this day as well but generally it’s a good way to bring people together. People like to get outside and football does unite people.”

The tournament had seven teams and 35 people taking part, with players paying to join in. Ryan Legge won player of the tournament after his team won the cup.

Both old friends of Mark and new friends of the family came along.

“I mean a lot of these guys would have known Mark but there’s a good proportion of people here that don’t,” Terence said.

“So while my brother is a big part of today, people are also coming just to support sepsis and raise awareness of it.”

Leo Holmes, 23, was one of the players who came along to show support for the family.

Leo Holmes came along to the Mark Canning Cup to raise awareness of sepsis. Credit: Lucy Evans

He said: “I think it’s vital that things like this happen so we can raise money for the Sepsis Trust and they can get out in the communities and raise awareness more.

“It’s great to support Siobhan and Terence because they do so much great work for the Sepsis Trust. I got to know them over the past few years.”

Last year, Siobhan and Terence raised £5,000 after holding 10 fundraising events for the tenth anniversary of Mark’s passing.

“That included half marathons, RideLondon… we dressed as Batwoman and Batman for the Cardiff Half Marathon and then, because we were getting married in December, we ran the October half marathon as bride and groom,” said Siobhan.

The couple have planned a choir night and a ball for later this year, and they hope to beat the £5,000 total from last year.

Brian Davies, the fundraising manager for the UK Sepsis Trust, said: “Everyone at the UK Sepsis Trust is extremely grateful for the fundraising efforts of our colleague Terence Canning and his wife Siobhan, in hosting the third edition of the Mark Canning Cup.

“For a small charity like UK Sepsis Trust, it is this type of supporter-led community event that is the lifeblood of our income strategy and helps to raise huge levels of awareness within their local areas.

“This is how we gradually educate the general public about the dangers and symptoms of sepsis, and try to achieve our ambition of ending thousands of preventable deaths from the condition each year in the UK.”

What is sepsis?

The NHS website states: “Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s own tissues and organs.”

The NHS website lists the symptoms of sepsis and can be found here.

In 2021, more than 2,900 people had sepsis registered as their underlying cause of death in England and Wales, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This is the highest number of deaths with sepsis as the underlying cause in the 20-year period between 2001 and 2021.

When looking at the number of death registrations where sepsis was mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, there has been a general decline since peaking in 2006 with more than 27,000 deaths.

However, in 2021 almost 22,000 death registrations in England and Wales mentioned sepsis in some capacity.

A spokesperson for the UK Sepsis Trust said: “The most important thing people can do is ‘just ask – could it be sepsis?’, whether they are concerned about themselves, a loved one or someone they care for. 

“If someone is exhibiting any of the signs of sepsis, then they should call 999 or visit A&E. The good thing about sepsis is it is often treatable with antibiotics if caught early – so acting quickly is key.”

What can be done to raise awareness of sepsis?

The UK Sepsis Trust is currently running its Sepsis Savvy campaign, where people need to watch a short video, play a game and then encourage those on social media to join in too.

A spokesperson from the UK Sepsis Trust said that fundraising for the charity or volunteering within the community can raise awareness.

  • If someone is displaying symptoms of sepsis, call 999 or visit A&E
  • To donate to the 2023 fundraiser for Mark Canning, click here