29th June 2010
Hundreds of young students from South West London are making a splash this week in a bid to raise awareness and vital funds for CRY. Students at Ernest Bevin College in Tooting are using National Sports Week to launch a series of “swimathons” for CRY.
As part of this week long fundraising and awareness raising effort, over 60 of the boys (aged between 11 and 16) were screened at the school for potentially life-threatening cardiac defects by CRY’s expert team of doctors.
CRY Patron Matt Wells – GB Rowing and Olympic Bronze Medallist in 2008 – was in attendance to help launch the “swimathons” and he kindly also agreed to be screened to help show the students at Ernest Bevin that the heart screening procedure is quick, easy and painless.
Sudden cardiac death in the young claims the lives of at least 12 apparently fit and healthy people (aged 35 and under) every week in the UK. In around 80% of cases there are no signs or symptoms and so the only way to detect a potentially sinister cardiac abnormality is by having this simple screening test.
First launched at the Ernest Bevin College, the UK-wide swimming initiative – CRYSWIM 2010 – is proving to be a fun and inclusive way of fundraising within schools.
Earlier this year the campaign was championed by the then Secretary of State for Health, Andy Burnham MP, who will himself be “diving in at the deep end” in support of CRY in September (as part of CRY’s 15th anniversary celebrations) when he takes part in the gruelling Great North Swim, across Lake Windermere.
Mr Burnham spoke to an audience of around 100 boys at Ernest Bevin inspiring them to enjoy and become involved in sport – as well as highlighting the importance of cardiac screening in young people and being aware of your family’s ‘heart history’.
Andy Garside, Director of Specialisms at Ernest Bevin College said, “Sport is a vital part of our ethos here at Ernest Bevin, so we’re delighted to be able to use our facilities and enthusiasm in support of CRY.
Everyone who takes part will know that they are making an important contribution to CRY’s work to reduce the horrifying number of deaths every week in the UK. It is also a unique opportunity for some of our lads to be screened and to walk away with the reassurance they are fit and well.”
For the first time ever, CRY is also offering free screening to 14 year olds (born in 1995 – the year that CRY was founded) in the South East throughout 2010. This initiative will be run at the new CRY Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology, based at nearby St George’s Hospital.
CRY’s Chief Executive and Founder, Alison Cox MBE adds, “We are so grateful to the staff and pupils from Ernest Bevin College who are giving up their time and energy to help support us in our ongoing mission to reduce the number of young lives lost needlessly to sudden cardiac death. By working together to encourage young people to take the plunge and support CRYSWIM 2010, we can really make a difference in our special 15th anniversary year.”
For more information about organising a CRY sponsored swim in your school or local community please visit
To register a sponsored swimming event online, please visit http://www.cryswim4andy.org