Cardiac charity helps young people in memory of St Albans squash player

Donna Faulkner with Dr Bashar Ibrahim and CRY ambassador Ben Coleman. Picture: Ollie Moore

Donna Faulkner with Dr Bashar Ibrahim and CRY ambassador Ben Coleman. Picture: Ollie Moore - Credit: Archant

A charity is helping young people with heart problems by using funds raised in memory of a St Albans squash player.

Heart charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) has added a new echocardiogram to its screening equipment thanks to funds raised in memory of Harry Faulkner.

Harry tragically collapsed and died over six years ago, aged 18, while playing squash in a league match from a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

Since Harry's death, friends and family have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and funds in his memory, totalling over £182,000 to date.

This led to the screening of more than 1,200 young people where 35 individuals were identified as needing further heart investigations.

Every week, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people in the UK die suddenly from an undiagnosed heart defect.

In 80 per cent of these cases, there will have been no signs or symptoms until it is too late, which is why the charity believes screening is so vitally important. CRY now tests around 30,000 young people each year, aged between 14 and 35 and well over 200,000 since the screening programme was launched in 1995.

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Harry's mum, Donna said: "I'm like a dog with a bone and I won't give up in getting the message out there about screening.

"So many young people just think they're invincible and that it won't happen to them. But my Harry was so fit.

"He played squash - a very powerful game - and had no symptoms at all.

"We had no idea and that is what's so scary."

She added: "Just go onto the website and register now. It's free - the government doesn't pay for it but it's funded by families like us, supported by our friends.

"If our screenings can save just one life…well, it won't bring back Harry but it will help us as a family and when we see CRY's mobile screening unit testing young people in Harry's memory it makes us so proud."

Most of CRY's screenings take place in community settings schools, colleges, church halls and sports clubs across the UK.

Two Saturdays in every month, around 100 young people are also screened for free at CRY's National Screening Centre at St George's, London.