I have today pledged my support to the charity CRY, which offers research, support and screening for those affected by the sudden and unexpected death of a young person. I had no idea that as many as 12 young people die every week from an undiagnosed heart condition. Most of them die at night in their sleep with no one there to help them. This means that 12 families are left devastated by this inexplicable loss of a loved one and I can only begin to imagine the terrible devastation this must cause.
The reception at Westminster in support of CRY was also attended by two of my constituents, Melanie Gooder and her sister-in-law Miranda Osborne, who suffered their own terrible loss when, in 2017, Miranda's 25-year-old daughter, Amy, who had been fit, happy and healthy died suddenly with absolutely no warning, turning their world upside down overnight. Mrs Gooder said “My family has been so grateful to CRY for the support we have had since my niece Amy's sudden death. Up to date, with generous efforts of friends and family we have raised £50,000 for Amy's Memorial Fund and will be using this money to start heart screening in North Yorkshire next year. Miranda and I would like to thank Kevin Hollinrake for his support. We very much hope that other MPs will follow his example and sign up to the pledge to establish a National Strategy for the Prevention of Young Sudden Cardiac Death in the UK”.
CRY, which was set up in 1995 by Alison Cox MBE (whose own son suffered from an undiagnosed abnormality), supports these families, providing bereavement counselling to parents, siblings, friends and family. The support goes way beyond emotional help because after a young sudden death, it is vital that first degree blood relatives are tested by a specialist. It surprised me that in 80% of cases of young sudden cardiac deaths there are no prior symptoms of a heart defect, which is why CRY is also campaigning for as many young people as possible to be screened so that preventative action can be taken to save young lives. At the moment about 30,000 young people are tested every year and 1 in every 80 requires follow up tests.
I am pleased that so many of parliamentary colleagues from both Houses attended the event and I would encourage as many people as possible to join me in pledging your support to this fantastic charity: https://www.c-r-y.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/pledgedownload.pdf