CRY’s Screening team is proud to mark the milestone of 1,000 young people having their hearts tested though the Robert Rowan memorial fund

Brentford FC once again hosted a weekend of screening delivered by Cardiac Risk in the Young

Weekend of the 9th/10th March saw the 1,000th person screened through funds raised in memory of a popular and highly respected member of staff at Brentford FC, Robert Rowan – who tragically died in sleep from a cardiac arrest in 2018, aged just 28.

Robert was Technical Director of the West London Club and his sudden death sent shockwaves throughout the Brentford ‘family’ and wider community – which has since pledged to honour Rob’s memory through fundraising and awareness, as well as hosting regular cardiac screening sessions for local, young people, aged 14-35.

Spearheaded by Robert’s wife, Suzanne (who also set up the fundraising organisation, AKA Day to support cardiac screening and awareness) The Robert Rowan Memorial Fund has now screened just over 1,000 people at events held in partnership with Brentford FC, and two venues in Scotland close to the hometowns of both Suzanne and Robert.

And, due to these tests carried out, CRY’s data shows that 74, ‘asymptomatic’ young people have been identified with abnormalities in tracings of the hearts rhythm which required referral for further investigation.

Nity Raj, General Counsel at Brentford FC and Trustee of Brentford FC Community Sports Trust said: “To my mind, this means that due to the screenings we’ve helped to provide, 74 young people are now equipped with essential information about their heart health, future treatment options and ultimately lives will be saved.  I’m just so proud of everyone who’s been involved with raising the funds that allowed us to reach this incredible total – to date – of 1,000 tests carried out. But I’m especially proud of Suzanne. Thank you so much for driving on with this mission to prevent young sudden cardiac death.”

Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, adds: “We began screening young people almost 30 years ago and it’s such an achievement that as charity we’re now delivering screening to almost 30,000 young people every year – and this is almost entirely thanks to the fundraising efforts of families, friends and local businesses and organisations such as The Robert Rowan Memorial Fund and A-K-A Day. We fully believe screening needs to be extended to all young people and we’re therefore so grateful for the ongoing commitment of Suzanne and the many wonderful people involved with Brentford FC who continue to fundraise and advocate for testing the hearts of young people.

“To hit the 1,000mark is truly impressive and testament to the dedication and determination of Suzanne and the huge support of Brentford FC who have really welcomed CRY into their family. I have no doubt this is just the tip of iceberg and that Robert’s legacy will live on through the incredible efforts of all those that knew and worked alongside him.”

Every week, 12 apparently fit and healthy young (aged 35 and under) people lose their lives to sudden cardiac death in the UK. A staggering 80% of these apparently healthy young people who die from young sudden cardiac death will have shown no previous sign of heart defects until it is too late – which is why CRY believes proactive screening, using the gold-standard ECG (echocardiogram) test and follow-up Echo (ultrasound) if necessary, is so vitally important.

Robert’s wife, Suzanne Rowan, concludes: “As always, Rob’s family and I would like to thank the Brentford FC community for all their support in memory of Rob. Without them, our ongoing funding for screenings just wouldn’t be possible. We are proud to be making an impact on lives of young people and playing a part in helping to prevent other families from experiencing the same devastating grief as we have.

“I am so grateful for the support and encouragement I also receive from Brentford and I have so much admiration for other CRY families who also achieve so much without the platform I am fortunate to have via the club and the Heart of West London partnership to which I – and CRY – all belong. Here’s to the next 1000!”

The Heart of West London group is made up of Brentford FC, Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals Charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young, Resuscitation Council UK and A-K-A Day. The shared ambition is to ensure that everyone has the skills to save a life and to raise awareness of heart disease and the lifestyle changes necessary to live healthier lives, as well as delivering education within the local community about screenings for under-35s.