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Charity praises relatives of tragic newly-wed for heart deaths awareness drive
THE family of the young woman who died from a rare heart condition just five months after her wedding have been praised for their “courage” in lobbying for improved screenings for the syndrome which killed her.
The family of Claire Reed will say their goodbyes to their daughter at her funeral on Monday, but are already making plans to push for testing for heart conditions that could lead to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome to be available on the NHS.
Yesterday leaders of charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) which campaigns for greater awareness of the condition and supports grieving, praised the family.
Founder and chief executive Alison Cox said: “It takes enormous courage for a family who has been affected by young sudden cardiac death to be able to see beyond their own tragedy and want to raise funds for CRY to help save another life and prevent another family having to suffer in the way they have. “I find it very humbling that despite their own terrible grief, they somehow manage to find the strength to support us to try to prevent other families from the same catastrophic grief as they have endured.”
Their wedding was at Norton Park Hotel in Sutton Scotney, Winchester, before their honeymoon in Dubai and Mauritius. In the months before her death she had reduced her hours to concentrate on her own beauty therapy business.
Andy, 26, said: “It’s all so fresh and raw at the moment but after the funeral we are going to talk to the founder of the charity to discuss how we can raise awareness. Free screenings aren’t available and it’s what we are pushing for, especially for people under the age of 35. People should know there is a risk.”
An estimated 12 people per week aged under the age of 35 die from a previously undiagnosed heart condition and 80 per cent of those deaths have no prior symptoms.
CRY charges £35 for electrocardiogram (ECG) tests or they are free if they are booked at its mobile cardiac testing centre which tours the country. One in 300 young people it tests are identified with a potentially life-threatening condition. Tests cost more than £100 if booked privately.
Figures show that sudden cardiac deaths have dropped by 90 per cent in Italy since mandatory screening was introduced.
Claire’s funeral takes place from 2.30pm at Wessex Vale Crematorium in Bubb Lane, West End.
People are asked to dress in her favourite colour, pink, and to make donations in lieu of flowers to CRY or the British Heart Foundation.