PM awards outstanding Cheshire heart screenings fundraiser

Debbie Dixon (seated) at a screening in honour of Aaron

The Prime Minister has today, 14 January, recognised Debbie Dixon, from Tarporley, for funding heart defect screenings for young adults.

Debbie has raised over £210,000 to fund heart defect screenings for young adults in partnership with charity ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’. After the sudden loss of her son Aaron to an undetected heart defect at the age of 23, Debbie launched a memorial fund in his name within ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’ to raise awareness and provide screenings in schools and community spaces for young people. These screenings are critical for early diagnosis and preventing heart conditions from worsening. Of the 2,500 young adults she has helped screen in Cheshire, 75 have been referred for further investigation and one woman received a heart transplant after discovering she had a serious heart defect. Debbie is now building on her screening work through a partnership with The English Institute of Sport and is funding a 12-month screening of elite athletes.

Debbie is the latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.

Aaron Dixon

In a personal letter to Debbie, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

“After the tragic loss of your son, Aaron, you have shown remarkable resilience and commitment to improving the diagnosis of undetected heart defects among young adults. The thousands of screenings you have provided have already made a real difference for young people in Cheshire. You should feel very proud of the profound impact you are making in Aaron’s memory.”

Debbie said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be receiving this award in recognition of all the work I do for ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’ in memory of Aaron. Since the loss of our son I have focused my efforts on raising awareness and money to screen for undetected heart defects, in order that other families do not suffer the heartache we do on a daily basis. Receiving this award contributes to promoting the need for young people to be screened.”

Dr Steven Cox, Chief Executive of ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’, concluded:

“Since 2011, the family and friends of Aaron Dixon – led and encouraged by Debbie – have raised over £200,000 for CRY, enabling the testing of thousands of young people in memory of Aaron and supporting CRY work towards a day when every young person will have the opportunity to have their heart tested.

“Debbie has not only enabled thousands of young people to have their heart screened, but with the support of The JD Foundation she has funded the screening of 100s of elite athletes in partnership with the English Institute of Sport. We look forward to continuing to work alongside Debbie and her family in the future.”

“This is the fourth time that a family associated with CRY has been honoured with a prestigious ‘Points of Light’ award and we are all delighted to see Debbie deservedly recognised in this way, for her incredible commitment to CRY and saving young lives.”

Debbie is the 1097th winner of the Points of Light award, which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA. Over 6,000 Points of Light have been awarded in the USA, and former Presidents have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK. There is a similar cross-party approach to the UK programme and MPs from different parties often present their constituents with their Points of Light awards.

 Regardless of whether it’s a doctor restoring local monuments in her free time, a father teaching young people life skills, or a local musician giving a voice to lonely people, the Points of Light award honours shining examples of volunteering across the UK.