Liverpool Echo, 17th November 2019
Eighteen year old footballer Jack Riding from Crosby, passed away after suddenly collapsing on the pitch while playing with his friends. It was discovered that he had an underlying heart condition called arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy, which caused his heart to stop suddenly.
Following his death, his family were faced with the decision of whether or not he was an organ donor. His father Ian states that ultimately the decision was made based on what they thought Jack would have wanted.
“I think he would have wanted it. He was always one for helping people and he was always very kind-hearted,” said Ian.
Jack’s kidney, pancreas and liver were able to help three people; two older men and a teenaged girl. Various tissues were also donated and are being saved for suitable matches and Jack’s family were told that due to his background, his tissue could be of help to injured footballers.
“That would make him happy, I think. It’s a nice thing to think you’re helping people through what is a sad thing,” said Ian.
Jack has been awarded the Order of St John Award for Organ Donation, run by NHS Blood and Transplant. The award was received by his family and loved ones on his behalf at The Athenaeum on Church Alley in Liverpool.
His father stated: “It’s all very surreal losing someone and then having them get an award. An award is supposed to be celebrated and is a happy occasion. I always felt proud of him anyway because he had a lot of other awards through football. I was very proud of him [for saving lives] because even though he was gone, he was still getting awards.”
Since his son’s passing, Ian set up The Jack Riding Foundation, which aims to raise awareness and provide free heart screenings to young athletes between the ages of 14 – 35. Ian has been working with Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to ensure more young people are tested for hidden heart conditions like the one which took his son’s life.