16 April 2024

Third cardiac screening session for town’s young people

by Tim Nuttall

Another potentially life-saving cardiac screening session has been confirmed to take place in Withernsea later this year thanks to the generosity of the community, and the efforts of those behind a fund set up in memory of a Roos man who died from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2015.

Delivered by Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), a charity that offers subsidised ECG screening to people between the ages of 14 and 35, the session will enable 100 young people to receive an ECG test to check for any heart defects or abnormalities as part of the charity’s mission to “prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research”.

Identifying the hidden conditions that could lead to sudden deaths in young people, the test is quick and non-invasive. If necessary, a further echocardiogram can also be taken on the same day to provide further clarity or reassurance.

Set to take place at the Meridian Centre on Wednesday, October 30, it will be the third such screening session to be held in the town as a direct result of fundraising on behalf of the Darren Uscroft Memorial Fund.

The news follows the success of a memorial football match and day of remembrance led by Darren’s friends and family, which helped to raise £1,500 on the ninth anniversary of his death. This figure was supplemented by local band the Pub Lads, who donated a further £390 to the cause.

With each screening session now costing about £6,500 per 100 people being tested, and with CRY being entirely dependent on the funds raised by its supporters, fundraising initiatives such as those held in memory of Darren Uscroft are vital in ensuring that the charity can maintain its work to save lives.

Helping to bring the screening sessions to Withernsea is Kerri Hagan Dawson, supporter of the Darren Uscroft Memorial Fund, who said: “This simple screening procedure is potentially lifesaving and therefore worth every penny of the £6,500 it costs to bring this to our town. In the last screening, held in 2023, the session identified heart defects or abnormalities in eight people which warranted referrals and further investigations – potentially saving eight lives.

“Darren’s family and friends, along with residents of Roos and Withernsea, have raised all the funds we have needed to provide these free heart screening sessions – for which we are most grateful. I can’t thank them all enough for doing what they do to keep Darren’s memory alive and I hope we all continue to support others for many years to come.”

Since his unexpected death at the age of only 27, those who were closest to Darren have helped to honour his memory by collectively raising more than £30,000 to help fund lifesaving support in the community. This money has been raised through a wide variety of fundraising endeavours including two CRY-organised sponsored walks in Durham, a fundraising ball, running and cycling challenges, coffee mornings, music events, quiz nights and participation in the annual Boxing Day dip.

The money raised has helped to fund two defibrillators, with a substantial contribution made towards a third, for devices which are located at the town’s tennis club, the Willows Holiday Park and Withernsea Lifeboat Station.

Those involved have also contributed towards two previous cardiac screenings – one at the high school in June 2019, and a further screening session at the Meridian Centre in May 2023. These have enabled the testing of about 200 people in the area. After the third screening in October, this figure will reach 300.

Kerri added: “We are determined to continue fundraising to help raise the money needed
to secure each screening session and help raise further funds for the purchase of more defibrillators. We want to save another family from experiencing a sudden and tragic loss like Darren’s family did.

“We, as Darren’s friends and family, feel strongly that those who support us should have priority bookings for the screenings and we release places with a private password to people we know have directly and significantly raised money for our screening fund. Once these places are secured, we open up the bookings for everyone. However, demand is high and they are not available for long – with places going in a flash.”

Further details, including how to book a place, will be released nearer the date of the screening. In the meantime, for information or to assist with fundraising contact Kerri on 07732 656605.

Every week, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people (35 and under) lose their lives to sudden cardiac death in the UK – a statistic that is believed to be a conservative estimate. Some 80 per cent of these will have shown no sign of heart defects until it was too late – which is why CRY believes screening is so vitally important.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to the Darren Uscroft Memorial Fund to help maintain its lifesaving work in the community can do so using the following details: Sort Code: 30-99-50, Account: 56727468.

For more details about CRY, visit c-r-y.org.uk.