Families unite to tackle cruel killer

Every week eight young people across Britain die suddenly from undetected heart conditions.

Now in an effort to highlight this devastating loss the charity CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young – is launching postcards across all areas of the country with photographs of eight young people from that area who have died in these tragic circumstances.

The Northern Ireland postcard includes pictures of two teenagers from Lisburn who died from undetected heart conditions.

Nicholas Collins from Balinderry was only 16 when he died in 1998 and Ciara Agnew from Derriaghy just 14 when she passed away in 2002.

The launch of the campaign on Sunday included speeches from Alison Cox, Founder and Chief Executive of CRY and John Lundy, whose son Aaron died aged 19. The group wants everyone to lobby their MP to find ways to prevent cardiac deaths among the young.

This month thousands of the postcards will be distributed by CRY supporters to people across Northern Ireland, who will ask them to send them onto their local MP.

A new card is being launched every month, portraying victims from 12 different regions across the UK.

CRY hope the postcards will maintain the momentum set earlier this year when the Department of Health agreed to add a new chapter to the National Service Framework on Coronary Heart DiseFamilies unite to tackle cruel killer (Nicholas Collins) picase, dedicated to sudden death among young people.

The eight young people on the Northern Ireland postcard had no apparent symptoms or history of bad health. But their deaths could have been prevented if cardiac screening was more accessible.

Alison Cox said: “By showing just some of the faces behind the stories we read and hear about all too often we can help people begin to understand the heartbreak caused by this cruel killer and highlight the fact that it can happen to anyone, at anytime – usually without warning.

Yet these eight faces – representing the eight lives lost a week in the UK – show just a snapshot of the problem. We need to keep up the pressure and engage support from as many MPs as possible to make sure we can prevent other families from experiencing such tragic losses.”