Help reduce heartbreakBy Hugh Fort
March 10, 2010
Two Bracknell faces feature on a new postcard designed to warn people of the dangers of undetected heart conditions.
Simon Pangborn, 35, from Birch Hill, and Lewis Marsh, 14, from Sandhurst, both died suddenly from heart defects no one know they had.
Their faces feature on the new postcard launched by the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) charity alongside 10 other people from the South of England who have also died from what is called Sudden Cardiac Death.
The charity says 12 young people a week die as a result of undiagnosed heart conditions – 50 per cent more than previously estimated – and is running the campaign to raise awareness.
The postcards are available through the website and the charity wants people to send them to their MPs to promote the cause.
The charity wants better, readily-available screening through the NHS.
It also wants families with a history of heart disease as well as any young people who may have experienced problems with fainting to take part in screenings which it offers.
In Simon’s case, he had gone into hospital for tests after a long period of extreme tiredness.
Just half an hour after being released he collapsed and died.
It was discovered he was suffering a heart condition known as arrhythmogenic right ventricle cardiomyopathy.
His mum Gill and wife Samantha got involved with CRY after Simon’s death in July 2007.
Samantha, 42, said: “The family and I have worked very hard to raise money, and awareness, of the charity since Simon died.
“Simon’s sister was diagnosed with this condition and the rest of the family was advised to be checked.
“Simon was the sort of person who was able to go out and run a marathon if he fancied it. He was fit and healthy.
“He was running his own business and was a bit run down, but we never suspected this would happen.”
She added the real danger of the condition is that there are no real symptoms and that it can strike at any time.
It also means Samantha’s four children have to have yearly checks to see if they are developing the condition.
She said: “It’s very important to raise awareness of the condition and that’s why the postcard has been launched.”
Lewis Marsh from Sandhurst died suddenly in 1998 from an undetected heart defect.
After he died, his family set up the Lewis Marsh Fund, which has raised more than £110,000 for the charity.
The money raised goes towards electrocardiogram machines used to detect the condition.
Alison Cox MBE, chief executive of the charity, said: “As the recorded incidence of sudden cardiac rises – it is time to relaunch this powerful campaign to help emphasise the importance of screening and the fact so many of these cases affecting fit and healthy young people could have been prevented.
“Eighty per cent of the people who die from these tragedies have no symptoms and it is only through screening that the condition can be identified.”
For more information on the campaign visit the website at www.c-r-y.ork.uk