28th September 2009
Sian Thomas – whose brother Gareth died suddenly, age 21 – was given a 1 hour slot on the “One & Other” plinth at Trafalgar Square on Monday 28th September from 11am to 12 midday. She chose to dedicate her time on the plinth to raising awareness of CRY.
Sian’s opportunity to spend time on the plinth was covered on the BBC website
For more information about the “One & Other” initiative go to www.oneandother.co.uk/
Click here for more photos from the day
The following Press Release was sent out to accompany this event:
LOCAL WOMAN TAKES “CENTRE STAGE” IN THE HEART OF LONDON TO RAISE AWARENESS FOR LEADING CHARITY
Cardiff’s Sian Thomas takes coveted place on London’s ‘Fourth Plinth’ in memory of younger brother
The shocking statistic that 12 young1 people die suddenly every week in the UK from an undiagnosed heart condition2 will be ‘shouted from the rooftops’ at the end of this month [Monday 28 September] as a local woman takes her place on the infamous ‘Fourth Plinth’ in London’s Trafalgar Square.
Sian, (26) from Llantrisant, tragically lost her brother, Gareth, in February 2007, aged just 21. Gareth (who studied law international politics) died in his sleep from a previously undiagnosed heart condition (Long QT Syndrome) and, at the time, was sharing a house in Cardiff with two former school friends, having graduated from Aberystwyth University. A fit, active and apparently healthy young man, Gareth’s sudden death devastated his family and local community.
Since his death, his sister Sian was screened and also identified as suffering from the same condition. She has dedicated much of her time to raising funds for the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) as well as highlighting awareness of sudden cardiac death in young people.
And, as part of Sian’s ongoing awareness activity, she has pledged to use her ‘hour’ on the Plinth to reinforce the sobering statistics about the numbers of young people who are dying – often needlessly – from previously undiagnosed heart conditions.
Sian said; “The concept of the Fourth Plinth has become truly iconic and I feel privileged to have been offered a place later this month and to have been given an opportunity to pay tribute to my brother in such a public way.
“There was really no doubt in my mind as to what I would ‘do’ during my hour and I hope passers-by will take the time to stop and think about my message. Screening is available through CRY and many of these tragic deaths could be prevented if young people or their parents were aware that a simple test could identify ‘a ticking timebomb’ before it is too late.”
Every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days without a break, a different person will have the chance to make the Plinth their own. Renowned sculptor, Antony Gormley, created the world famous “living monument” by inviting people across the UK to occupy the empty Fourth Plinth – a space normally reserved for statues of Kings and Generals.
Many of those awarded one of the limited placed have taken the opportunity to raise awareness of a special cause or charity or to use the Plinth as a ‘high profile soap box’. Some have chosen to do something loud or outrageous – others, like Sian – will be simply standing quietly and letting their important message do the talking for them.
Chief Exec and Founder of CRY, Alison Cox MBE says; “We were very proud when Sian told us of her plans to stand on the Fourth Plinth as part of her ongoing awareness activity for Cardiac Risk in the Young. Sian will be taking part in an historic and memorable event and helping us to reinforce our important messages to a worldwide audience – via the internet and the many thousands of people and tourists who will ‘stop and look’ at her next Monday.
“Whilst Sian will be holding a banner displaying the fact that the current statistics reflect that 12 young people die every week of sudden cardiac death in the UK, it is sobering to remember that experts believe the figure could be just the tip of the iceberg. We must do everything we can to continue to raise awareness of the importance of cardiac testing in young people, especially those involved in physical activity.
“80% of fit and healthy young people like Gareth have no previous symptoms. Promoting our screening programme saves lives.”
In partnership with healthcare company, Philips, CRY has recently completed a 10-week screening tour [testmyheart] across England, testing around 3,000 young people (14-35). CRY plans to ‘roll out’ the screening across Wales in 2010 as well as launching an updated version of the charity’s hard-hitting postcard campaign in Cardiff early next year.
1 aged 35 and under
2 ONS 2006
For more information, or to set up an interview with Sian Thomas, please call the Jo Hudson or Heather Churchouse in the CRY Press Office on 020 8786 3860 / 0770 948 7959: firstname.lastname@example.org. Photos of Sian will be available on request on Sept 29
For more information about CRY or sudden cardiac death, visit: www.c-r-y.org.uk
Notes to editors
CRY was founded in May 1995 to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmia Death Syndrome (SADS). As well as campaigning and lobbying and the provision of its subsidised cardiac screening programme for young people (35 and under), the charity also provides counselling and support to bereaved families as well as young individuals who may be diagnosed with a life threatening condition
CRY works closely with a number of MPs to try and improve awareness of sudden cardiac death in young people. This has resulted in the creation of the CRY All Party Parliamentary Group (currently 116 members), and the proposal of the Cardiac Risk in the Young (Screening) Bill which was the catalyst for new NSF guidelines for Chapter 8 on Arrhythmia and Sudden Cardiac Death.
Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) is an umbrella term for a number of different heart conditions that affect fit and healthy people which, if not treated can result in a dramatic and or / spontaneous death. In about one in 20 cases of sudden cardiac death, no recognised cause can be found – even after post-mortem. This is then called Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS). Many experts are now claiming that the actual number of deaths recorded could be far greater with many causes being wrongly recorded at post mortem as asthma, epilepsy or even drowning.