Cardiac Screening days and what they mean for our community

Knutsford Academy students at the cardiac screening held in 2019

You may have seen some social media posts last week about our partnership with the Knutsford Academy school where we facilitate cardiac screening days for the students, but what is this really all about and why do we work so hard to offer this to the community of Knutsford?

 

Back in 2015 a young girl joined our team of volunteers helping to facilitate our Heartstart courses. Whilst talking to her one night I discovered that she was driven to help us due to the tragic loss of her brother who died suddenly aged 17 from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. She explained how her family raise money to provide cardiac screening days in Manchester with the aim to screen for a range of cardiac conditions that can cause sudden cardiac death in young people. Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. That is 12 families each week who suffer the loss of a loved one. In around 80% of cases of young sudden cardiac death, there will have been no signs, symptoms or warnings and there is no routine screening offered by the NHS, even though screening has been shown to lead to an 89% decrease in deaths.

This got me thinking… The KCFRT had been helping members of the Knutsford community in a variety of ways since its inception in 1995; First Responders, defibrillators and Heartstart courses. Although this is a generalisation, our main ‘customers’ are those of the older generation. Within the KCFRT Executive we had recently been discussing the need to expand our life saving work. Therefore after further investigation we decided to embark upon this new idea and facilitate cardiac screening days for young people in Knutsford.

Debbie Dixon and the screening team from November 2018

Our first screening day was held in 2016 and screened 104 young people, a very small amount for a community the size of Knutsford, but as each appointment costs between £50 to £75, one screening day can cost over £7,500! This was as much as we could afford at the time. Since then our fundraising team have done a fabulous job in increasing our donations to allow us to offer more days. We have also worked with Debbie Dixon, who very kindly has paid for a number of additional screening days in Knutsford out of the memorial fund for her son Aaron, who died in 2011 at the age of 23. We have now screened a total of 611 young people and we hope to significantly increase that number this year and during 2021 celebrate the screening of our 1000th person!

We are continuing our work this year with our highest number of screening days so far:

  • 31st March 2020 – Knutsford Academy for students only – fully booked
  • 25th April – Knutsford Academy – in memory of Mat Hodge, a Knutsford resident who died in 2018 leaving a wife and 2 young sons – booking is now open for members of the Knutsford Hockey club
  • 26th September 2020 – Knutsford Methodist Church – a public offering, booking will be available closer to the time of the event

We are honoured to be able to reduce the chances of families in Knutsford having to suffer the sudden loss of a loved one through sudden cardiac death. Please help us to offer this vital service by donating here:

If you would like more information on our screening days please see here.