Leading charity reaches out to young people using social media as a platform to provide essential support and specialist information
At the end of Heart Month 2017, a powerful but pragmatic new YouTube channel has been launched by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to help support the growing numbers of young people who – thanks to greater awareness and early identification – are learning to live with the shock diagnosis of a potentially fatal heart condition.
The facts sound terrifying – but the reality is thankfully a different story, due to the increasingly effective treatments and intervention and an ever-developing understanding about cardiac conditions in young people. However, as CRY’s unique myheart group know, despite the reassurances from expert doctors, friends and family, such a diagnosis can still have major impact on their lives.
Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, says; “A diagnosis of one of the conditions that can – and does – kill at least 12 young people every week in the UK, usually without warning, can be incredibly frightening. So, when a young person comes to us for support and advice having been told this news, it is important they feel reassured that they will be able to live a normal life. They need to know they are not alone and other young people are going through the same experience as themselves – and that’s why immediate access to a wider network of young people is so important. As well as being able to share experiences, another crucial issue is receiving specialist medical information. We want as many young people as possible to have easy access to the expertise and experience provided by our cardiologists, Professor Sanjay Sharma and Dr Michael Papadakis. Experts play a crucial role in developing an understanding of how to cope with the limitations and adjust to a life living with a condition.”
As well as videos sent in by members to help others – sharing their experiences of being diagnosed or undergoing certain tests and procedures – the new myheart YouTube channel features a number of frequently asked questions which have been sent in by members and answered by myheart cardiologist Dr Michael Papadakis. The development of the YouTube channel follows the launch of a new myheart website in 2016, which includes a ‘members’ only area’ where myheart members can connect and support one another. It is estimated that one in 300 young people aged 35 and under who are tested by CRY are found to carry a potentially life threatening condition. CRY’s pioneering screening programme now tests around 23,000 young people every year which, combined with increased awareness, has led to more young people being routinely diagnosed.
Dr Cox adds, “It would be great to think that every young person diagnosed with a cardiac condition would have a chance to meet in person with a specialist cardiologist like Dr Papadakis to discuss their concerns. However, this is not always possible which is why we are developing our free online open access resources to help those young people who are having to face these new life changing challenges.”
The new YouTube channel is live from Feb 27th – subscribe now for access to first-hand accounts of living with a heart condition and be inspired by these young people living life to the full.
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For more information or to set up an interview with any of CRY’s myheart members, please call Jo Hudson in the CRY Press Office on 020 7112 4905 / 0770 948 7959 / firstname.lastname@example.org
*previously known as the Surgery Supporters Club and started in 2002