In June 2006 my family and I were on holiday in Center Parcs when my brother Dean, aged just 26, passed away from a cardiac arrest caused by an undiagnosed cardiac problem. It was found that my brother had a slightly enlarged left ventricle and no other issue could be found as to the cause of his death. To say that this was a shock seems a huge understatement as there is no getting away from the fact this changed our lives forever.
After being made aware of Cardiac Risk in the Young and discovering how many families experience what we went through, the charity became a big part of our lives as a family and mine personally. Over the last 10 years we have fundraised and raised awareness of the charity as much as possible. For me the drive came purely from wanting to prevent as many families as possible from having to go through what we have been through. To try and come to terms with the fact that you’re apparently fully fit and well brother could disappear from your life without notice. A strong indicator for me on the importance of getting the message out there came from thinking about myself prior to our experience, and how I never realised something like this was possible. For a person with no symptoms to pass away with no warning. I know that at 18 years of age I would have never believed that getting screened for a cardiac abnormality was something I would need to do. Being a fit and very physically active person. So getting the message out there that a quick test one weekend to rule out any possible issues, most of which can be controlled or eradicated easily, is so important.
Having become familiar with the work CRY do in both preventative measures and also support supplied to grieving families and friends, I wanted to become involved. When you realise that a simple screening could save a life in the space of a 10 minute appointment it’s a great incentive to get people to take the time to be screened. We as a family have worked hard to raise money to be able to hold screening events in our area of West Wales. We were also fortunate enough to raise enough money to fund a complete screening unit to be put into circulation. I have grown closer to the charity as a result of this and I am proud to be associated with CRY and their aims.