Student's tragic death sparks heart campaign

Students back heart campaign

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The high-profile story of Fabrice Muamba, whose heart stopped for well over an hour after he collapsed on the football pitch a year ago, highlighted the undiagnosed heart risks which affect young people.

He survived - and recovered - but 12 people under 35 die each week from cardiac problems: that works out as 624 a year.

When we think about sports, we usually think about extremely fit, 6ft 4in speed machines running up and down a turf pitch with limitless power.

But taking part can put unbearable strain on the hearts of young people with undiagnosed cardiac problems.

One woman decided to act. On 3 May 1995, Alison Cox set up Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), a charity whose aim is to raise awareness of conditions that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

For Ravens Wood School in Bromley, it is not just about statistics.

Ben Daniels, an apparently healthy student with no history of heart problems, collapsed in 2011 at the age of 15 while training for his local football club.

He died three days later in hospital.

The whole school was in total shock at the news of his death. That's when they found out about CRY.

Legacy

The charity was very supportive towards Ben's family and the school.

Ravens Wood became part of CRY's screening initiative, which provides mobile screening units to sports clubs, schools and other organisations.

The ECG machines (electrocardiograms) work through electrodes being placed around the body producing a graph of the heart's electrical activity.

From this, experts are able to detect signs of cardiac problems.

Ravens Wood School is now very involved with CRY, and holds annual screening events and fundraising activities.

Ben's father Paul says increasing the number of young people screened for heart problems is crucial.

That, he says, would be Ben's legacy.

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