A conference was held on Tuesday at the Leicester Tigers Rugby Ground to raise awareness of heart deaths in young people. On average 12 young people die each week in Britain suddenly because of SADS (sudden arrhythmic death syndrome).
The conference was supported by the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, a local charity set up by Steve Humphries after tragically losing his son Joe to SADS in October 2012. He said “losing one Joe is bad enough, we cant afford to lose any more”. Joe who was just 14, collapsed and died while out running near his family home in Rothley, Leicestershire. Since then, his family and friends have worked tirelessly to campaign for a better understanding of sudden, unexpected death in young people, and have campaigned for compulsory CPR training in schools and defibrillators in schools, community venues and sports clubs.
Dr Ffion Davies, a member of the Trust and a consultant at the A&E at Leicester Royal Infirmary, said “We’re holding this conference, which is available to all nurses, doctors and paramedics around the country, basically to increase awareness that young people can suddenly die from a heart complaint, which isn’t old age heart disease, but from a rhythm problem.”
“We will be teaching things like about ECG’s, warning signs and CPR training as well”
Patron of the Joe Humphries Memorial trust and ex-international rugby player, Martin Johnson spoke of why the conference is so important, “it just become obvious that we had to raise awareness of this condition, and also to inform people about learning CPR because its such a simple thing to do and is vital in terms of saving lives”
Kate and Gerry McCann who are both medical practitioners were in attendance at the conference, and spoke of how hard it is losing a child “in our situation when Madeline went missing and for our family and others, the worse felling in the world is helplessness that you cant do anything to help, and I think if you witness someone having a cardiac arrest, the worst feeling is if you cant do anything to help”
The couple also from Rothley donated £10,000 to the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust. Kate spoke to Pukaar News and said “This is something that is very easy to learn, and that can help save lives of children, and people want to help, and children in particular are really keen to learn and to help, and if there is anything you can do at all to do make something good out of a tragic situation then that’s beneficial for everybody”.