Bereaved families from across the Home Counties and South of England are helping to launch a major regional campaign to highlight the shocking statistic* showing that the number of young people who lose their lives to the tragic condition sudden cardiac death now stands at 12 every week – a staggering 50% rise on previous estimates.
*The new figures are based on official statistics [ONS 2006] citing the cause of sudden death among people aged 35 and under.
A poster-sized version of an emotive new postcard – featuring the photos of 12 young people from across the region who lost their lives suddenly to previously undetected heart conditions – was unveiled at The Four Pillars Hotel in Witney (Oxfordshire) on Friday March 5.
The symbolic campaign was first developed in 2004 as a poignant way of promoting the fact that 8 young deaths were, at the time, estimated every week.
It was re-launched just over a year ago at a national event in Westminster. Updated postcards are now being released regularly at 12 key venues from across the UK, each portraying 12 victims from that region. Over the past 5 years, around 100,000 postcards have been requested by CRY families to raise awareness and lobby support amongst MPs.
The campaign has particular significance this year as 2010 marks the 15th anniversary of CRY. In addition, the charity is also launching the first ever initiative in the UK to screen every 14 year old born in 1995 (the year that CRY was founded) across the South East
Chief Executive and Founder of the charity, Alison Cox MBE, says; “We feel – as the recorded incidence of sudden cardiac death rises – it is time to re-launch this powerful campaign to help emphasise the importance of screening and the fact that so many of these tragic cases affecting fit and healthy young people could have been prevented. 80% of the young people who die from these tragedies have had no symptoms and it is only through screening that the conditions can be identified.”
“These 12 faces are just a snap-shot of the problem and we need to keep up the pressure and engage support from as many MPs as possible to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedies.”
This month, hundreds of postcards will be distributed by CRY families and supporters to people across the South of England urging them to send it back to their local MP. It is hoped the influx of postcards will encourage MPs to add their support to the campaign and join the Cardiac Risk in the Young All Party Parliamentary Group.
Alison adds; “We already have huge support from MPs – some of whom have been deeply moved by a death of a young person in their constituency and have pledged to support us in our ongoing work and awareness raising activity.”
“We’re therefore confident that this latest campaign will help us to target those MPs who are not yet aware of our commitment to preventing further needless deaths across their region as well as spreading our important educational messages to parents and young people living across this region.”