When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Taking it from the top after family tragedy
After the death of their newborn son, Dominic and Alison Hardisty abandoned promising careers to chase what was most important in life.
Mr Hardisty was managing US band The Killers, pictured far right, when Nicholas died at just 31 days old. The tragedy led him to sell the band and take up a new career in a hospital.
And wife Alison, 46, quit her IT job to spend more time with their children Mariella, five, and Xavier, three.
Mr Hardisty, 46, had remortgaged their East Hendred house to invest in The Killers after discovering them.
Nicholas was born at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital in April 2005, but it soon emerged he was seriously ill with a rare lung condition and would not survive.
Mr Hardisty sold the band in 2007. The Killers have sold 15 million records worldwide.
He began working at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as development director and now works at Portsmouth Hospital.
He said: “It changed my life completely as I have gone from a music industry manager to working in the NHS. And that was as a direct result.
“I didn’t want to spend my life doing something frivolous, I wanted something meaningful in my life.”
Mrs Hardisty said she remembered the moment The Killers were performing at the Glastonbury Festival in 2005, just weeks after they had lost Nicholas. She said she sat in tears alongside her husband, missing Nicholas desperately, while every festival-goer sang along to The Killers’ songs. But while the couple realised they had a monster hit on their hands, they knew they would have given it all up just to have their son back with them.
Mrs Hardisty decided to take voluntary redundancy three years ago.
She said: “I am a different person now. It was something no one ever expects to go through and you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. But we are able to appreciate life more. It’s made me a more understanding and compassionate person.
“My focus on what was important shifted. I wanted to spend less time working with my nose to the grindstone and more time with other people.
“I have two young children and I am not going to get that time again.”
Nicholas died from alveolar capillary dysplasia (ACD) – a rare congenital malformation in the lungs.
Mrs Hardisty has been in training since December to run the London Marathon next Sunday to raise £6,000 for The David Ashwell Foundation. She said: “I don’t think I will ever exceed this as an emotional and personal challenge.”
And The Killers have donated £700 to the cause.
Her husband added: “It’s a huge challenge and I am really proud of her with all the work she has put in.
“It’s for a cause close to our hearts.”
To donate visit uk.virginmoney giving.com/ Alison Hardisty