Remembering Kyan Armstrong

Remembering Kyan Armstrong

Kyan Armstrong was a 15 year old boy from Wagga Wagga who passed away unexpectedly due to a ruptured aneurysm in October 2022. His family have since been trying to raise awareness about aneurysm in his memory, and raise funds for aneurysm research. His uncle, Damian Armstrong, spoke to us about Kyan’s life and the impact of brain aneurysms.

Brain Foundation: Can you tell us a bit about Kyan? 

Damian Armstrong: Kyan was a very kind, respectful and lovable 15-year-old young man with his world at his feet and ready to take life on. Kyan loved his fishing, sports, playing AFL, working on his 1950’s truck, hanging with his mates, and most importantly to Kyan spending time with his family. He had an old soul and could relate to all regardless of age. He was very well known for his poor Kiwi accent he put on to ensure laughter was in the air. 

BF: Were there any warning signs before the aneurysm? 

DA: There were no warning signs at all. Kyan never complained of having recurring headaches. He complained in the days leading up of a sore throat and blocked nose and feeling generally not 100%.

What is an aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a bulge on the wall of an artery. This occurs because of a weak spot in the artery wall, which could potentially rupture. Brain aneurysms are in fact quite common and most aneurysms do not cause any symptoms or problems. However, a small proportion of aneurysms can rupture and lead to bleeding in the brain – a type of stroke called a subarachnoid haemorrhage. This is a medical emergency.

Symptoms of an unruptured aneurysm include vision problems, headaches, pain around the eye, loss of balance, and more. A ruptured aneurysm will cause symptoms such as an extreme “thunderclap” headache, vomiting, light sensitivity, collapse, or seizure. If you or someone you are with experiences symptoms of a ruptured aneurysm, seek emergency medical help immediately.

BF: I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a tragic experience. How did Kyan’s passing impact you and your community?

DA: It was a very terrible time for family and friends still to this day trying to understand how and why. You never expect a young man to go to school like any other day and never come home. Kyan is deeply missed and will leave a void of a lifetime to all of those close to him. The Wagga community has been fantastic with love and support for the family. It was a day that will be remembered that life can sadly be short and change in an instant.

BF: Recently you started the Fishing for Kyan charity and event, to celebrate Kyan’s life and raise money for aneurysm research. What motivated you to start this? How has it been going so far?

DA: We wanted as a family to try and make some good out of our terrible experience, to keep Kyan’s name spoken and raise money while providing an extra opportunity for the Wagga community to get together and create their own special memories as we learnt it can change forever so quickly. 

A fishing event was the perfect choice to celebrate Kyan’s love of fishing and to bring the community together. We hosted the first Fishing for Kyan event in November last year. It was a fantastic day and we are so thankful to the people and local businesses who made the event a success. You can watch a short video about the day on our Facebook page >

Some of Kyan's parents' favourite photos of Kyan.

BF: What do you wish people knew about brain aneurysms?

DA: While Kyan’s passing was an unexpected tragedy, there are ways to treat aneurysms if they are caught early enough. The problem is that they are very hard to diagnose – most people only find out they have an aneurysm if it’s detected in a routine MRI for another condition. However, there are researchers who are working on improving diagnostic methods. Through research we hope to see the development of an affordable and widely available screening tool, to help save others like Kyan. 

Further information & support

Thank you so much Damian for speaking to us about Kyan’s life, and the impact he had in the Wagga community. It’s great to learn more about Kyan and the ways you are celebrating his memory and raising awareness for aneurysm.

Here are some other links and resources related to Kyan’s story:

Brain FoundationThe Brain Foundation is the largest, independent funder of brain and spinal injury research in Australia. We believe research is the pathway to recovery.