The Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) Heart of London Bridges Walk is now in its 12th year, raising well over three-quarters of a million pounds to date since its launch in 2007.
And…it’s also 12 years since Trinity PR was first invited to run the press office at this inspirational event, meeting families and hearing their deeply personal and poignant stories
At 11am on Sunday (24 June) almost 1,400 people left Potters Fields Park (against the backdrop of Tower Bridge) and walked together, passing by 12 of London’s most famous landmarks – representing the deaths of the 12 apparently “fit and healthy” young people who die every week in the UK from young, sudden, cardiac death (YSCD).
In 80% of cases of young sudden cardiac death there will have been no signs or symptoms, which is why CRY believes proactive cardiac screening is so vitally important. As such, CRY now tests around 27,000 young people each year aged between 14 and 35 – and over 165,000 since the screening programme was launched in 1995. One in every 300 young people tested by CRY will be identified with a potentially life-threatening condition.
International Opera singer Kathryn Harries officially started the Walk. Kathryn, a Patron of CRY was the inspiration for the first ever ‘Bridges Walk’ following her own, personal marathon effort in 2007, when she walked 32 miles across London in 12 hours.
Just a week later, she led 400 families and friends of CRY over London’s bridges, in what has now grown into the charity’s largest annual event.
She told the crowd; “I think it’s fantastic that an idea I had has now turned into an annual, flagship event for this most magnificent charity. I think you’re all remarkable. I think you’re incredibly brave, seriously courageous people, and it’s a privilege to be involved with it.”
After Kathryn’s speech, CRY Chief Executive Dr Steven Cox spoke about how far the event has come and important changes that will help CRY’s fight against young sudden cardiac death:
“It is incredible how this event has developed over the years to become the most important event in our year, bringing together families from all over the country.
“In 2007, most people would not have been aware that young people could die suddenly of heart conditions. Now, when I talk to people about CRY, they’re almost always aware of young sudden deaths. They’ve heard about the stories, they’ve heard about your experiences. Often, they will even tell me that they’ve heard about CRY’s screening programme.
“Earlier this week (June 18) we reached a major milestone as the World Health Organization (WHO) acknowledged that when a young person dies of SADS, as well as all the other conditions, this should be recognised by official statistics and the policy makers. This change has only been possible because of the research that you are helping us to publish, showing what needs to be done and why it is so important.
“There are many young people alive today because of what you are doing. None of these changes would have happened without the incredible support we receive from CRY families, from your support all over the country.”