CRY has also announced the first initiative in the UK to screen 14 year olds born in 1995 (the year that CRY was founded) across the South East of England.
At the reception Roger Gale introduced the charity’s new Patron, Phil Packer – who himself made headlines earlier this year by completing the London Marathon and climbing El Capitan, despite having been left paralysed whilst serving in Basra, just 12 months previously
The new multi-disciplinary centre - spearheaded by the charity’s consultant cardiologist, Dr Sanjay Sharma - will provide a ‘one stop shop’ for young people and ‘affected families’ who wish to be screened for potentially life-threatening cardiac problems.
CRY estimates (based on official statistics from the ONS) that at least 12 young ‘apparently fit’ people die suddenly in the UK every week from previously undiagnosed heart conditions.
Over the next two years, the new programme – which has been made possible thanks to a charitable grant from ICAP, the interdealer company – will help to pave the way for a national programme in the future. The focus, of offering 14 year olds the chance of non-invasive screening (using an ECG machine) at no cost, is because post-puberty is the earliest proactive screening is viable. It is also at an age when young people are starting to make decisions about their future – and before they are forced to make sacrifices about their dreams or their sporting aspirations.
Chief Exec and Founder of the charity, Alison Cox MBE says; This ICAP funding is a huge milestone for CRY and takes us another step closer to realising our dream of being able to offer heart testing to young people in the UK. I launched CRY 14 years ago in 1995 and therefore it feels right to be offering young people turning 14” the opportunity to be screened by some of the world’s leading experts and hopefully to be able to reassure them that they are in good health.”
Experts at the Centre will be able to support teenagers in the journey from screening through to possible diagnosis and treatment and, where necessary, counselling and support. Specialist researchers will also be based in the new Centre working on the genetics of hereditary cardiac defects, helping families understand their ‘heart history’.
Roger Gale, says; I am proud to back, as the Chairman of the Parliamentary Group, this charity that campaigns tirelessly to promote the importance of screening in young people – especially those who enjoy playing sport at school or at their local club. It’s wonderful to learn that screening is now becoming more accessible to young people right across the UK and I would urge parents, teachers and budding young athletes in my constituency to log onto CRY’s website to find out about the screening programme for teenagers and young adults.”
The project is also being supported by healthcare company Philips, who has donated state of the art screening equipment. Earlier this year, CRY launched a 10 week mobile screening programme with Philips (testmyheart.org) testing around 2,000 young people across the UK – 14 people were found to have potentially fatal heart conditions.
Screening saves lives – and parents, young people, teachers or sports clubs can access CRY’s specialist service by logging onto www.c-r-y.org.uk. Subsidised screening costs £35 per person but will be free of charge for all children born in 1995, commencing early 2010. Please call 01737 363 222 for more details.