As part of its 25th anniversary year, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) is proud to announce the news that international singer and songwriter, Arjun, will be joining the charity as an official Ambassador, helping to raise awareness of key messages and fundraising initiatives across his huge fan base and millions of social media followers.
Arjun (29) – who rose to fame in 2011 when his first track attracted 3million views on youtube within a month of release, now standing at over 204 million views – has a very personal and poignant reason for becoming involved with CRY. In September 2018, his wife Natasha died suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. Natasha, a GP, was just 28 and her sudden death came just 7 months after her marriage to Arjun. As a result of this tragedy, Arjun has already demonstrated huge commitment and dedication to raising awareness of CRY’s work and ongoing mission to help prevent young sudden cardiac death.
Last June, Arjun – surrounded by at least 100 of Natasha’s family and friends, attended CRY’s annual “Heart of London Bridges Walk”, the charity’s annual flagship fundraising and awareness event. Since then, Arjun’s commitment to CRY has developed, fronting an important mini-documentary with the BBC’s Asian Network which followed his journey to St George’s Hospital, London, as he met CRY’s screening and research team. Earlier this year, he organised a huge fundraising concert at Hammersmith Apollo – #forNatasha – in aid of CRY and more recently took part in the UK-wide ‘2.6 challenge’.
Arjun says; “Natasha and I had been together for ten years, and she had been closely involved in every aspect of my life, both personal and musical. She helped build my career from nothing and was there during the good times and bad, supporting me through thick & thin. Through everything she never lost faith in me and pushed me to be the best possible version of myself. No amount of songs or tribute concerts can repay what she has done for me, but I’m doing my best to try.
“I was so thankful to my musical friends for taking time out of their madly hectic lives to perform at our #ForNatasha concert in February, as we celebrated her life on what would have been our second wedding anniversary. It was so wonderful to be able to raise such a huge amount of money for CRY, through one of the most spectacular Asian music shows the UK has seen. It really was a fitting tribute to a beautiful, dynamic and talented young doctor, wife, friend, fan and confidante. We were able to pull together a line up of artists specially curated for Natasha, reflecting the music she loved and enjoyed every day. Through events such as this, and my association with CRY, I know Natasha’s life and legacy will continue to be an inspiration to others.”
Arjun adds; “I am immensely proud to be taking on this role of Ambassador and working with CRY towards raising even more awareness and doing what I can to help prevent these devastating and so often preventable, tragedies.”
Every week in the UK, around 12 young people (that is, aged 35 and under) die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. 80% of these deaths will occur with no prior symptoms – which is why CRY is so committed to the importance of specialist cardiac screening. Indeed, CRY’s pioneering screening programme aims to test around 30,000 young people (aged 14–35) across the UK every year.
And, although it won’t identify all young people at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, they have reduced the incidence of young sudden cardiac death by 89%. This is because sport – whilst it does not actually cause sudden cardiac death – can significantly increase a young person’s risk if they have an underlying condition.
Amongst his many music accolades and film credits, Arjun has won ‘Best Urban Act’ (in association with the MOBOs) at the UK Asian Music Award and was selected to sing the official theme song for the ICC Cricket World Cup. He also performed at Diwali in Time Square, New York, to a crowd of over 200,000.
In March 2018, Arjun released his first album named Closer To Home and on 3 December last year, he released the song “One Last Time” dedicated to Natasha.
Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, comments: “This year – in tandem with a 12-month partnership with Sunrise Radio – will be the first time that CRY has reached out so specifically to the British Asian audience with our key messages and future plans and it’s wonderful to have Arjun on board in this official capacity. We are all looking forward to working with him now and in the future.
“I was fortunate to have been invited to attend the incredible #forNatasha concert in February and was so impressed by Arjun’s talent and energy. He is a fantastic performer and the line-up of international artists who all agreed to take part for free was testament to the huge support Arjun already has in helping to raise funds and the profile of CRY on both the UK and global music scene.
“Young sudden cardiac death is indiscriminate – it takes young people, at the prime of their lives from every community and ethnic background across the UK. It is our duty – more so than ever in our 25th year – to ensure we have a strong voice in the British Asian community and to spread our messages widely about the importance of cardiac screening, research and bereavement support.”