Family teams up with heart charity to bring free testing to University

The Marshall family from Ormskirk will be hosting a free cardiac screening session on the campus of Edge Hill University in partnership with the leading heart charity for young people, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in memory of their son.

Maureen, who works in the catering department at Edge Hill University, together with her husband, John and daughter, Hayley, were instrumental in launching the charity when their son, John, died suddenly from a condition known as Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy (ARVC) in 1995.

John was a talented footballer having played for England on 12 occasions.   He had also been signed by Everton FC and was due to start his football career with them the day after he died. 

Maureen said: “John was so fit and healthy, he was known as one of England’s jewels in the crown, mainly for his left foot. We had never heard of the condition and we knew that something had to be done to make people aware. CRY gave us the answers and being able to fund screening sessions, such as this event taking place at Edge Hill University, gives us the opportunity to stop other young people from dying.”

Anyone aged 14 to 35 who is interested in having their heart tested can do so on Friday 11th February, between 9am, at the clinical skills rooms in the Faculty of Health the Ormskirk campus. Simply go to www.c-r-y.org.uk/ecg.htm book your free appointment. A doctor with a team of cardiac physicians will be present with each screening taking no more than 30 minutes. Non-invasive ECG and ECHO equipment will be used to test people.

The day-long screening session will be held in memory of John and could see up to 100 young, local people tested for cardiac abnormalities.

Every week, 12 young (aged 35 and under) people lose their lives to sudden cardiac death in the UK – a statistic that’s believed to be a conservative estimate.

Over the past two years, CRY has tested over 13,000 young people as part of its pioneering Test My Heart tour, as well as many other screenings at schools and sports clubs across the UK.

A staggering 80 per cent of apparently healthy 14 to 35 year olds who die from young sudden cardiac death will have shown no previous sign of heart defects until it is too late. It is widely accepted that testing saves lives reinforcing the importance of the CRY screening programmeand its unique ability to detect conditions in people that might otherwise have gone unnoticed.

Chief Executive and Founder of Cardiac Risk in the Young, Alison Cox MBE, said: We are very pleased to be working with the Marshall family again and are extremely grateful for their ongoing fundraising, allowing us to continuing running our regional screening sessions, as well as raising the profile of CRY.

“We have known the family since 1995, so it is very fitting to be working with them again as we bring our 15th anniversary celebrations to a close.

“Since 1995 our screening team has identified many young people who were simply unaware that they were walking around with an undiagnosed and potentially fatal heart defect – literally, a ticking time bomb. Thankfully, they could be treated and are now able to lead normal, active lives. The consequences of their conditions remaining undetected, simply doesn’t bear thinking about and underlines the very ethos of CRY and our ongoing mission to reduce deaths from these sudden and tragic conditions.”

CRY’s Consultant Cardiologist is the leading Sports Cardiologist in the UK, and recognised as one of the leading experts for Young Sudden Cardiac Death world wide. He makes no charge for supervising the CRY screening programme. With Professor Sharma’s support CRY is able to subsidise the programme so that each appointment only costs £35.

Often this cost is funded by CRY families who have been affected by a young sudden cardiac death, so there is no charge to the individual what a mobile cardiac screening service is bought to a local community. Privately these tests could cost in excess of £100, just for the ECG and consultation.