Essex Live, 2nd March 2020
Twenty-three year old Kayleigh Griffiths was on holiday in Spain with a friend when she suddenly collapsed by the swimming pool. It was later discovered that she suffered a heart attack by the pool and another one subsequently in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She was on life support for three days, with doctors doing their best to revive her, but eventually her parents, Leon and Wendy, received the devastating news that there was no brain activity.
“She wouldn’t be able to breathe on her own or perform any of the other functions. She was being totally supported by the machine,” said Leon.”They came to the conclusion that there was no brain activity so we had to say goodbye to her. It was horrendous, absolutely horrendous… We didn’t actually know it was her heart until we had the results of the post mortem, which was quite a while after. She had an undiagnosed condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.”
Following this tragedy, Leon and Wendy began researching their daughter’s condition. This led them to Cardiac Risk in The Young (CRY) and to getting involved in fundraising and raising awareness for the charity to conduct heart screenings for young people. They have now raised enough money to fund a heart screening in their home town.
“It takes the whole day and they bring all the equipment to monitor everybody, it’s an electrocardiogram (ECG) and they know what they’re looking for. They also bring an ultrasound in case there’s anything they’re not happy with,” Leon explained.
Kayleigh’s family raised around £8,500 for the screening; £5,000 for the actual event, with the rest going towards support CRY’s work in raising awareness and researching cardiac conditions in young people. Since setting up the Kayleigh Memorial Fund following their daughter’s death in 2017, Wendy and Leon have raised more than £20,000 to help young people at risk.
CRY’s Chief Executive, Dr Steven Cox, stated: “The vast majority of our screenings are supported through the inspiring and tireless fundraising efforts of families who have suffered the tragic and sudden loss of a child, sibling or partner. I find it so humbling that families, such as Kayleigh’s – who have raised over £17,000 in order to bring screenings to their local area – are able to see beyond their own horrendous experience to raise funds and awareness for CRY, playing a vital part in preventing other families from having to endure the same devastating grief as they have.”