Screening legacy attracts hundreds

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PIONEERING life-saving sessions are to be repeated in Bognor Regis.

The free heart screening which attracted 200 patients, aged 14-35, last weekend will be held again at the same time next year.

The initial sessions took place at Felpham Community College on Saturday and St Mary’s Catholic Primary School on Sunday.

They were staged after the families of Luke Meekings and David Green – who died from sudden adult death syndrome – raised £3,500 for each day of the visit by the leading heart charity Cardiac Risk in the Young.

David’s mother, Gabby Broadhurst, 46, of Havelock Road, said: “The sessions have been really busy and the response has been brilliant. All 200 spaces were filled.

“We’ve got enough money to hold the sessions again next year. We’ve already booked the screening clinic for the same weekend in 2015.

“It’s such an important message to get through to people –that deaths from sudden adult death syndrome can be prevented.

“When you have lost a child because of something that could have been prevented, putting across that message gives you the strength to carry on.

“Otherwise, it would have been just a needless death. I see Sunday’s session as definitely a legacy of David’s death. Something positive has happened out of something so horrific.”

David died on December 1, 2010, aged 19. He was a member of Bognor and Middleton Hockey Club and had played in a memorial match for fellow player Luke after his death on June 24, 2008, aged 24.

Neither men, nor their families, had any reason to think they had underlying heart problems.

Both were active and involved in sport.

Their families have raised £20,000 in their memories.

The screenings were staged by CRY whose mobile unit makes visits around the country.

A typical screening weekend would detect one or two patients with heart disorders, a CRY volunteer said.

Peter Lewis, CRY’s screening manager for the weekend, said the cardiac problems found in the tests were in two categories: brugada – which he called a fault with the heart’s electrical circuit – and cardiomyopathy – a fault with its plumbing.

“Any tests which reveal a high risk of any heart disease will see the patient either referred to the local NHS or to St George’s Hospital in Tooting, South London, where CRY has an NHS clinic to deal with this disorders.

“This screening is incredibly useful,” he said.