Local families in Wales come together to highlight tragic heart conditions affecting the young

2nd May 2012

Bereaved families from across Wales attended an event at the National Assembly on Wednesday 2nd May, to raise awareness of sudden cardiac death in the young.

Organised by CRY, the welshas1event highlighted the fact that at least 12 apparently fit and healthy people (aged 14 – 35) die every week in the UK from previously undiagnosed heart defects. Worryingly, 80% of these young people will have had no symptoms.

To help illustrate these shocking figures and the devastating impact of sudden death in young people, 12 life-sized cut-out silhouettes (which have become a well-known and emotive feature at CRY events) were on display (right).

The event in Wales – which brought together bereaved families and Members of the Welsh Assembly – comes just weeks after the sudden collapse of Bolton midfielder, Fabrice Muamba. The shocking events on the pitch at White Hart Lane on March 17th led to even greater calls for cardiac screening in young people (especially those involved in sport).

This is something that CRY has been campaigning for since its launch in 1995.

Back in November 2009, CRY launched a poster-sized version of its emotive postcard campaign in Cardiff, featuring the photos of 12 local people who had lost their lives suddenly to previously undetected heart conditions.welshas2

Chief Executive and Founder of the charity, Alison Cox MBE (left), says; “As the recorded incidence of sudden cardiac death rises, it seems timely for us to return to Wales to meet up again with just some of the many families who have been affected by these devastating conditions.

“It is also vital for us, as a campaigning and awareness raising charity, to have the opportunity to talk to Assembly Members.

“Due to recent events, sudden cardiac death has been dominating the health and sports pages of the national press. However, we need to keep up the pressure and to engage support from as many MPs and Assembly Members as possible, to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedies.”

The most simple way to identify many of the abnormalities that can cause sudden cardiac death is by having an ECG (electrocardiogram) test. The test is quick and painless. If necessary, a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken to provide further clarity.

Since CRY was first founded in 1995, a number of young people from Wales have tragically died suddenly from previously undiagnosed heart conditions, including 27 year old Gareth McDonald from Llanrumney. Gareth died from a previously undiagnosed heart condition in February 2000. Since his death, Gareth’s family – along with so many others from across Wales – has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funds.

Diane McDonald, Gareth’s mother (who is a now a CRY Regional Representative), says: “This is an important event for CRY and, as a representative of the many parents in Wales who have been affected by sudden cardiac death, I am so pleased that the charity continues to have a strong presence here, offering support to families and educating our young people about the importance of screening.”



As part of CRY’s Screening programme, the CRY Screening team visits Wales on a regular basis, providing cardiac screening sessions for young people (aged 14-35) at events funded by local families who have been affected by sudden cardiac death. To register interest in a forthcoming screening near to you, go to www.testmyheart.org

For more information or to arrange media interview with Alison Cox (CRY Chief Executive) or any of the families who attended on May 2nd please call: JO HUDSON or HEATHER CHURCHOUSE on 020 8786 3860 / 0770 948 7959 or email jo.hudson@trinitypr.co.uk