Family raise funds for heart screening in memory of Dan Parris

Nichola Parris is on a mission to prevent other families losing their children to young sudden cardiac death after her son Daniel collapsed and passed away at work in February last year.

His family struggled to believe it when they were told he had suffered a young sudden cardiac death, which claims around two people under the age of 35 every day in the UK.

“The day Dan died, our family’s world was torn apart,” says Nicky. “He seemed fit and healthy. It didn’t make sense that we lost him so suddenly. We miss him desperately.”

After Dan’s death an autopsy and inquest took place, with the coroner recording the cause of death as sudden arrhythmic death.

Experts have since suggested that Dan may have been suffering from Brugada ­syndrome, a rare but serious condition affecting the way electrical signals pass through the heart. It can cause the heart to beat dangerously fast.

Now Nicky, Dan’s father Tony, 56, who works as a greenkeeper, and other members of the family are having tests for the condition and they have begun campaigning for Cardiac Risk in the Young – CRY – a charity working to prevent young sudden cardiac death by raising awareness, funding screenings and research.

“There, talking things over together, we knew we wanted to do what we could to help prevent other families from going through this tragedy.”

After arranging a charity golf day and running in the Hastings half-­marathon, family members have raised over £20,000 in Dan’s name.

Dr Steven Cox, chief executive of CRY, says: “Cardiac incidents can take place at any time and may occur while jogging across the park or asleep.

“Of the 12 young sudden cardiac deaths in the UK each week, 80 per cent occur with no prior symptoms. At CRY, we believe all young people aged 14 to 35 should have an opportunity to be screened for cardiac abnormality.”

Most abnormalities can be diagnosed by having an ECG (electrocardiogram) test. For clarity an echocardiogram (ultrasound) can be done.

CRY offers ECG and echocardiogram screening to all young people between the ages of 14 and 35 (at ), and tests around 30,000 people each year.

“By speaking so publicly, the Parris family will help spark awareness amongst teenagers and young adults who, all too often, are not aware of sudden cardiac death in young people or the steps that can be taken to protect themselves,” says Dr Cox.

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