The charity Cardiac Risk in the Young has launched a powerful new campaign – #CRY4Friends – for young people learning to navigate their emotions following the tragic and sudden death of a close friend from a previously undiagnosed heart condition.
And, Trinity PR was proud be at the official launch of CRY’s new booklet, ‘A friend’s grief following a young sudden cardiac death’, at a packed Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons on Wednesday 22 November.
Guest speaker, 22-year-old Montana Brown (Love Island, MTV presenter and fashion ambassador) was invited to address MPs, families and leading cardiologists, talking about the sudden and unexpected death of her school friend Harry in 2013, aged just 18 – and how this ‘hidden heartache’ in her teens shaped her school years and her approach to life.
“At the time, I remember feeling so much guilt, because in my head Harry was honestly the most selfless and admirable person I knew at school. ‘I couldn’t get to grips with why something like this would ever happen to a boy like Harry.
‘A charity like CRY could have helped me so very much when I was in my teens, so I hope this [campaign] gives children and adults a place to go and talk about their feelings and speak to professionals to help them through the torment that so many people have go through on their own.’
The new resource has been compiled by CRY’s Founder and bereavement counsellor, Alison Cox MBE. It features 10 short chapters from 29 bereaved young people talking through their experience of coping with the gap their friend has left, trying to adapt their lives without them by their side and finding a ‘new normal’.
Alison Cox says; “This powerful and deeply sensitive booklet articulating the thoughts and feelings of the sudden death of a fit and healthy special friend explains the ferocity of the impact of the loss. We are all born into our relationships but have the freedom to choose our friends. A good friend provides a haven of security and suddenly losing them can have a catastrophic effect on a young person.”
Every week in the UK, 12 young (that is, aged 35 and under) people die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. 80% of these young people have no signs or symptoms and so the only way to detect a potentially sinister cardiac abnormality is by having cardiac screening.
CRY believes that every young person should have the choice to be screened, and offers a national screening service where anyone aged 14-35 can access free cardiac screening.
CRY’s Bereavement Support Programme offers both medical and emotional support to families who have been affected by a young sudden cardiac death. CRY offers individual telephone support through volunteers who have suffered the sudden cardiac death of a child, sibling or partner and who have undergone two years of counselling training, so that they can offer support to other people who have been affected by a tragedy.
CRY also offers group support, so that bereaved families and friends can connect with one another. In tandem with the new booklet, CRY has launched a private Facebook group for young people who have lost a friend to a sudden cardiac death, to connect and share their feelings with others who have experienced the loss of a friend and be part of a support network for one another.