A simple and quick ECG test could save the lives of the 12 healthy young people that die each week in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions. That is the message being delivered by the Charity Cardiac Risk in Young (CRY).
The charity CRY urges young people between the age of 14 and 35 years of age to get screened particularly if they are engaged in sport. On Wednesday 30 January 2013, CRY will be holding the first ECG screening clinic in Lincoln at The Showroom, Tritton Road, Lincoln. LN6 7QY where any fit and healthy young person can go and get tested.
Donations made in memory of Richard, who made 143 appearances for the Imps during three spells at Sincil Bank, will fund the appointments at this event.
Richard’s wife Sarah says: "Richard was an extremely fit and healthy 29-year-old professional footballer who showed no signs of having a cardiac defect and who would be the first to tell you ‘I am the fittest and healthiest person you know’.
"Sadly this was not the case and on the 10th January 2011 Richard failed to arrive for his Monday morning training session as he had passed away in his sleep that night."
"Richards’s death has left a huge gap in so many lives; he was taken from us far too early but will live on in our hearts forever and NEVER be forgotten. As a result of the amazing support and generosity from friends, family, colleagues, football fans and the general public, along with numerous fundraising events held in Richard’s memory over the last two years, I have been able to organize the screening event funded by ‘The Richard Butcher Memorial Fund’.
"I am hoping that by providing a free cardiac screening session which is open to the public, we will raise awareness of this silent killer that sadly results in far too many young lives being lost far too soon.
"It is also a way of thanking everyone for their continued support, and I see it as turning a devastatingly negative situation into something positive in Richard’s memory. The aim is to prevent another family experiencing the pain and heartbreak I have in losing Richard."
Dr Steven Cox, CRY’s Director of Screening, explains: "The death of a young person is heartbreaking and devastating for any family. At CRY, we would encourage all families to have their children screened for any underlying heart conditions.
"Twelve young people die every week in the UK and one in every 300 apparently fit and healthy young people have a serious underlying condition. Less serious cardiac abnormalities will be identified in 1% of people, although not life threatening they can cause complications in later life if not identified and monitored. I would encourage people to get in touch with CRYand arrange to be screened.
"It is essential that anyone with a condition knows about it. If they continue to participate in sport or take particularmedication for example they could be putting their lives at risk. They may not show any symptoms or warning signs.
"There is a simple way to identify most of these abnormalities - this is by having an ECG (electrocardiogram) test. The test is quick and painless. If necessary a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken to provide further clarity.
"Screening needs to be extended to all young people. Everyone is potentially at risk from these conditions and the only accurate means of identifying them is through an electrocardiogram (ECG). Our screening events are a step in the right direction and will help raise the profile of these conditions."
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 London Marathon Doctor.
Professor Sharma is a leading expert in cardiac conditions in young people and a heart rhythm specialist. Other screening options are available through CRY’s mobile screening programme and other supporting clinics.
"Although it is essential to look out for the warning signs, our experience is that in 80% of cases there are no symptoms prior to death and the only way the condition could have been detected would have been if cardiac tests were conducted," added Dr Cox.
For more information on CRY or to watch a video of David Walliams being tested go to the CRY website www.c-r-y.org.uk