C.R.Y. – Get Checked!

Todays post is a break from the norm. My friend Siân mentioned last week on Twitter that she would be doing a radio interview for the charity that she does a lot of work for, C.R.Y. (Cardiac Risk in the Young). I had been meaning to ask her to write a post about this for a while, because its something that can affect people around my age, but I felt a bit daft doing it! I asked though, and she wrote the following for me. Thank you so much Siân :)

Some of you may remember Jan Moir’s hideous article about the death of Stephen Gately last year. One of her many idiotic claims was that “Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.”

Sadly, we know that healthy and fit young people die like this all too often. My brother Gareth was one of them. He was 21 when he died in his sleep in 2007. He was a lovely quiet guy with a fab sense of humour. He seemed perfectly healthy – he played football every week and had not long come back from a skiing holiday when he died. But one day he just didn’t wake up.

According to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), my brother was one of twelve apparently healthy young people aged 14-35 who lose their lives to undiagnosed heart conditions every single week.

In most cases these conditions could have been detected by a simple ECG test, which is used to record the electrical activity of your heart.

CRY holds regular public screening events across the UK for anyone aged 14-35. Sporty types might particularly want to attend, as exercise can often exacerbate an undiagnosed condition. But anyone can book a place, even if, like me, your idea of exercise is rushing to the corner shop before it closes so you can get that emergency bottle of wine.

The process should take about half an hour, and the screening sessions are usually free or CRY ask for a subsidy of £35. I think this is a small price to pay for what could be such an important test. I now know that I have a heart condition called Long QT syndrome, but it took the loss of my brother for me to find out. I really think it’s so important that people take the opportunity and get these tests done before it’s too late.

In fact, I think it’s so important I spent a rather strange hour standing on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square last year promoting these tests!

Please don’t let my hour of looking like a fool be in vain! Find out more about CRY’s screening programme on their website today.


  1. Harriet says

    Wow, this is an amazing post, well done for Sian for being involved with this and making something so positive out of something so awful. She definitely inspires me to get tested.


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