Harpenden couple raising awareness of hidden killer

A COUPLE who lost their daughter to sudden cardiac death have helped to launch a powerful campaign highlighting the shocking statistics of the condition. Chris and Katy Turberville, from Harpenden, became involved with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Youn

A COUPLE who lost their daughter to sudden cardiac death have helped to launch a powerful campaign highlighting the shocking statistics of the condition.

Chris and Katy Turberville, from Harpenden, became involved with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) when their seven-year-old daughter Hannah died suddenly and without warning during a family skiing holiday.

Although she was a happy and active girl, she had an undiagnosed genetic heart condition in which an electrical imbalance disturbs the hearts normal rhythm.

Thankfully, Hannah's twin sister Lucy and older brother Oliver have been extensively screened and no heart abnormalities have been detected.


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Since Hannah's death in February 2007, Mr and Mrs Turberville have worked tirelessly in her memory to raise awareness of the importance of screening and funds for CRY.

On Friday (March 5), they helped to re-launch a major regional campaign to highlight the latest statistics which show that an estimated 12 young people under 35 die every week from an undiagnosed heart condition.

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To reflect the shocking figure - which is double the previous estimates - postcards featuring the photos of 12 young people from the region who have lost their lives suddenly to undetected heart conditions were unveiled.

Lobbying support

Over the past five years, around 100,000 postcards have been requested by CRY families to raise awareness and lobby support amongst MPs.

It is hoped that the latest influx of postcards will encourage MPs to add their support to the campaign and join the CRY All Party Parliamentary Group.

Charity founder and chief executive, Alison Cox, said: "As the recorded incidence of sudden cardiac death rises, it is time to re-launch this powerful campaign to help emphasise the importance of screening and the fact that so many of these tragic cases affecting fit and healthy young people could have been prevented.

"Eighty per cent of the young people who die from these tragedies have had no symptoms and it is only through screening that the condition can be identified."

She added: "These 12 faces are just a snap-shot of the problem and we need to keep up the pressure and engage support from as many MPs as possible to ensure we are doing everything we can to prevent other families from experiencing similar tragedies.

CRY, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, is also launching the first ever initiative in the UK offering screening to 14-year-olds born in 1995, the charity's founding year.

For more information about the charity visit their website at www.c-r-y.org.uk

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