For 16 years, an inspiring fundraising organisation based on the Isle of Man – Craig’s Heartstrong Foundation – has been dedicated to helping to prevent sudden cardiac death in young people by bringing CRY’s screening team to the island twice a year, with around 400 young people tested over each weekend.
And, the latest 2-day session – held in memory of Craig Lunt on the 16th & 17th September at Noble’s Hospital – saw a ‘breakthough moment’ for both the Foundation and CRY as the 10,000th test was carried out! On the Sunday morning, local man Tristan Caley entered the hospital for his pre-booked heart screening appointment with CRY’s team. Unbeknown to him, he was about to check in at the front desk as “heart screening number 10,000” funded by Craig’s Heartstrong Foundation.
Chairman of Craig’s Heartstrong Foundation, Paul Healey BEM explained; “This really was a momentous day for us – all these years after our first ever heart screening in the Palace Hotel – to be in the fantastic surroundings of Nobles Hospital reaching our 10,000th screening! It just goes to show what an amazing level of support we’ve had over the years, allowing us to continue providing this free service. From having to build ‘cubicles’ in the hotels in the early days to now being given access to the suite at Nobles – and we have to thank Manx Care for making these weekends so easy for us. When we started screening we never thought we would be hitting these numbers but we feel so good right now we can’t wait to hit 20,000!’
Craig Lunt was a well-respected, talented and popular young Manx footballer who tragically died in April 2005 from a condition known as Long QT syndrome which can cause fatal disturbances to the hearts electrical rhythm. He was aged just 25.
Craig’s Heartstrong Foundation began working in collaboration with CRY since 2007 and as well as holding screenings, the Foundation also provides lifesaving defibrillator machines within schools, sports clubs, offices and in public access locations across the Island.
During this latest weekend of heart screenings, 368 men and women between the ages of 14 and 35 were tested with 15 people found to have abnormalities requiring referral for further investigation.
The Foundation’s Secretary, Luke Murray, commented; “We’d like to thank everyone who booked onto and attended this weekend. We provide a free screening service to all individuals who attend and to see such a huge take up really makes all the work worthwhile. The people that have been found with problems are now aware of their situation and can be assessed and treated accordingly.”
2024 will see another two heart screening weekends taking place on the Isle of Man in April and September and local people will be able to book on around two months prior to the events.
Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, concludes: “We began screening young people almost 30 years ago and I am so proud that we are now testing around 25,000 young people annually – and this is almost entirely thanks to the fundraising efforts of families, friends and local businesses and organisations such as the Craig Heartstrong Foundation. But we still believe screening needs to be extended to all young people and we’re therefore so grateful for the ongoing commitment of Paul and his supporters which facilitates our team travelling to the Isle of Man to test around 750 young people on the Island each year – and of course for the warm welcome which always awaits our doctors, screening physiologistsand managers. I’d like to express a huge thank you to all those involved with Craig’s Heartstrong Foundation and for everything they do to help champion the ongoing collaboration with CRY.”