‘Time’ to save a life – Teenager’s documentary sheds light on sudden heart deaths
Posted: Mon, 04 Dec 2017
Sixteen-year-old Jess O'Brien has turned her talents to the subject to help the work of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), a local charity that works to promote awareness and greater understanding of sudden heart deaths in young people.
Jess launched her film at a meeting of Leicester city's primary head teachers last week (Wed 29 Nov), backing the JHMT's message that anyone – no matter how young – can help to save a life, either by calling for help or by learning CPR.
SADS stands for sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, a deadly and often hidden heart condition. In Britain, 12 young people aged 12-35 years old die each week from undiagnosed heart problems like SADS.
Jess put together her documentary, called 'Time', to give something back to the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, after benefitting from one of the charity's Inspire Awards.
Inspire Awards are small grants given out by the JHMT to help young people fulfill their ambitions.
Jess said: "Having read more about Joe's story and the Trust's work I was shocked to find that least 12 young people in the UK have their lives ended each week due to undiagnosed heart conditions. As a filmmaker and recipient of a grant from JHMT I was keen to find out what I could do to help with the trust's work.
"I spent a substantial amount of time researching more on SADS, defibrillators and CPR before I started making the film. I organised an interview with Lauren, Joe's' sister, in which we discussed Joe and Lauren's thoughts on CPR.
"I went to Little Bowden Primary School, where I interviewed students and teachers on their views of CPR in schools and I interviewed members of the public, a cardiac physician and the doctors who run Heartwize, another local heart charity.
"I spent a lot of time on the edit and voiceover too, making sure all the statistics used were accurate and relevant."
"We premiered the film to primary head teachers from across the city recently and I hope it goes a long way to changing the way people think about teaching CPR. While making this film it has become clear to me that the more people know about CPR the better the chance of helping someone to live. We need to see it as a necessary life skill we should all have."
Lauren Humphries of the JHMT said: "I was honoured to take part in Jess' film. She is an incredibly talented film-maker. I really love how Jess is using her talent to raise awareness of matters in life that are important to her, including SADS.
"The film is a great platform for us as a Trust to explain to a wide audience in a quick, effective way the importance of learning CPR and raising awareness of sudden heart deaths, whilst sharing the message of who Joe really was – a loveable, caring brother.
Jess won the Artist of the Year Lord Lieutenant's Award in April 2016. The award is named after Joe Humphries, so it was this that first put Jess in touch with the Trust.
Later, she applied for and was successfully awarded a small grant from the Trust to buy a camera, as part of the Inspire Awards.
Keith Allott of Badshoes Film, which supported Jess's project, said: "Jess is a remarkable talent and has all the dedication and drive you need to succeed in the film industry. I've worked with her for the last four years and watching her progress has been amazing. I'm sure her film will be a great success for JHMT in changing people's perceptions on CPR and how we teach it to young people."
To find out more about the JHMT and the Inspire Awards, visit http://jhmt.org.uk/