For the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) [www.c-r-y.org.uk] the past two decades has been all about building up its pioneering and world renowned screening programme. And, at the start of the 2016 (as we enter the final few months of CRY’s 20th anniversary campaign), the screening momentum is showing no signs of abating! Indeed, latest figures show that over 23,000 young people (aged 14-35 years) were tested last year alone.
Yet the impact of CRY’s UK wide screening programme is not just in the delivery of expert cardiac testing (bringing reassurance to the majority but also early identification of hidden heart defects, leading to lifesaving treatment for around one in every 300 screened) – but also in the huge amount of awareness of that is generated about young sudden cardiac death (YSCD) when the CRY screening team comes to town!
This month alone, CRY screenings have been featured on BBC News (BBC South East), Talk Sport, regional radio, ITV News (Meridian and ITV Wales) and numerous regional news publications with broadcast crews and photographers attending weekend sessions in Kent and Carmarthenshire.
Sporting icon, Dame Kelly Holmes also responded to the personal invite of one of CRY’s most prolific fundraisers and campaigners, Roger Maddams – and came along to the screening at Tonbridge Angels football club earlier this month (Jan 9 & 10). Dame Kelly was so impressed by the programme, she was even screened herself and tweeted about the experience to her 107k+ followers!
The families who fund these sessions and who work so tirelessly to bring CRY’s screening team to their local town, school or sports club (most often in memory of a child, partner or sibling) liaise closely with us, the CRY Press team, to ensure we can make as much as possible about these event. CRY’s families all share the charity’s ethos of the importance of raising awareness and doing as much as they can to prevent other families from enduring the same horrendous grief as they have.
Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, explains: “The death of a young person is devastating for any family. It is therefore essential that anyone with a potentially fatal heart condition knows about it. Without this knowledge and, if necessary, appropriate treatment they could be putting their lives at risk as in 80% of cases there are no signs or symptoms.
Dr Cox adds: “We are so proud that our screening programme now tests around 23,000 young people annually. But we still believe screening needs to be extended to all young people. Although screening will not identify all those at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, the incidence of young sudden cardiac death has been reduced by 90%.”
CRY’s screening programme is overseen by Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor of Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and Sports Cardiology at St George’s Hospital London and the Medical Director of the Virgin London Marathon.
To find about a screening in your area, just go to www.testmyheart.org