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Don’t be faint-hearted – get involved in SADS Awareness Week

Posted: Tue, 30 Sep 2014

Don’t be faint-hearted – get involved in SADS Awareness Week

A LOCAL charity is holding a week of activity to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), which claims the lives of 12 young people every week.

The week is organised by the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), which was established in memory of SADS victim Joe Humphries, 14, from Rothley, who collapsed and died while out running in October 2012.

SADS Awareness Week, which runs from 4-11 October, is now in its second year, and this year the week takes the theme 'don't be faint-hearted'.

Fainting without warning, in otherwise healthy individuals, can be one of the symptoms of an unexplained heart condition such as SADS.

To raise awareness of SADS, a powerful poster campaign has been launched, alongside a social media campaign.

The posters feature the words 'don't be faint hearted' with a striking image representing fainting on a hockey pitch. They will be on display in GP's surgeries, schools and public venues in the city and county.

Dr Ffion Davies, member of the Trust and consultant in A&E at Leicester Royal Infirmary, said: "Why are we holding a SADS awareness week? Well, most people don't think of teenagers and young adults dying of a heart condition, but the SAD fact is that it happens to 12 people a week in the UK.

"These types of heart conditions happen in healthy people and are different from heart disease associated with smoking, blood pressure and so on. This is called Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome.

"'Arrhythmic' means that the heart goes into an abnormal rhythm (beat) which can result in either a faint, or a full cardiac arrest."

JHMT Chair and Joe's dad Steve Humphries said: "Never again must we allow 'silence' to win the day, because every young heartbeat matters. We are fighting for all parents to have a choice and be better informed and prepared to guard against these subtle, undiagnosed heart conditions like SADS which can lead to the needless loss of innocent young life like Joe's."

And the Trust's social media campaign has already received the backing of local rock stars Kasabian, who recently tweeted "We're getting behind @JHMTorguk 's campaign to #breakthesilence on #SADS"

To lend your support, simply tweet "I'm breaking the silence on SADS" to the official Twitter account, @JHMTorguk, using the hashtag #breakthesilence

Or tweet a selfie holding up the words "I'm breaking the silence on SADS #breakthesilence"

Over the course of SADS Awareness Week, Joe's school, De Lisle College in Loughborough, will be launching its second annual photographic competition with support from the Trust. Joe loved photography and the competition gives De Lisle pupils that chance to showcase their photographic skills while also raising awareness of SADS.

A SADS awareness conference for health professionals is also planned, on 14th October, and the Trust will be busy throughout SADS Awareness Week with its vital work arranging for CPR training at local sports clubs, as well as supporting young people who want to fulfill their ambitions through its Inspire Awards grants programme.

Dr Mike Ferguson, Trust member and intensive care consultant, added: "If everyone in the UK was trained to do CPR (chest compressions), we could increase the survival rate to that seen in Sweden and some parts of the USA. If more places in the UK had automatic defibrillator machines in public places, we could also increase survival rates – these machines can save lives, if used within eight minutes of the cardiac arrest."

Think heart! Learn CPR! Call 999 if you're not sure – seconds count!

For more information about SADS Awareness Week and the work of the Trust, go to www JHMT.org.uk or facebook /JHMTorguk or tweet @JHMTorguk

Tags: Press, Events, SADS