Gideon died – but we can save others

A bereaved family are using cash from a fund set up in their son’s memory to provide potentially life-saving health checks for young people.

Tony and Sue Baws are working with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young – CRY for short – to make the under-35s realise they could have an undetected heart condition.

Their son, artist Gideon Baws, was just 33 when he died while on holiday in Las Vegas in October 2009. He suffered the heart condition, cardiomyopathy, which was triggered by an infection. He had shown no previous symptoms, so his death came as a huge shock to his parents and brother, Sam, and sister, Lucy.

Mr Baws, 70, of Elm Road, Leigh, said: “we’re still grieving daily, but being involved in this campaign gives us focus.”

They set up the Gideon Baws Memorial Fund to help CRY and have so far raised £8,000, most of which will help fund the charity’s work nationally.

They are now working to raise £2,000 to pay for people aged between 14 and 35 in the Leigh area to be screened for heart problems.

Mr Baws has written a book called Fishing with Harry which is being sold as part of the fundraising effort.

He added: “Screening is not to make people anxious. After a simple ECG test it provides reassurance or offers them the chance of expert care and advice. CRY supplies the equipment and specialists and can screen as many as 120 people a day. They are trained to pick up subtle results from an ECG to diagnose a heart condition.

“They’ll then advise people of the lifestyle changes they can make, or treatment.”

Screening is open to anyone regardless of family health history. Mrs Baws, 68, said: “If we can save the life of one person it’ll be worth it. If you can give life to someone else following a tragedy of your own, it softens the edges a bit.”

Gideon is one of 12 victims from the region who are pictured on a special CRY postcard, produced to promote awareness of heart defects in the young.