Liz McInnes, Member of Parliament for Heywood and Middleton, has welcomed the launch of a powerful new booklet for young people learning to navigate their emotions following the tragic and sudden death of a close friend from a previously undiagnosed heart condition.
The booklet, titled ‘A friend’s grief following a young sudden cardiac death’, has been compiled by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). It features 10 short chapters from 29 bereaved young people talking through their experience of coping with the gap their friend has left, trying to adapt their lives without them by their side and finding a ‘new normal’.
The booklet is part of a wider campaign #CRY4Friends, highlighting the grief felt by young people when they experience the death of a friend.
At this week’s parliamentary launch of the booklet, Liz McInnes MP met Margaret and Richard Harman from Heywood, who first became involved with CRY following the sudden death of their son Tom aged just 21 from a previously undiagnosed heart condition, and Tom’s friends Tom Crook, Sean Duffy and Michael Armitage who have contributed to the booklet.
Tom, of Wilson Avenue, was a talented bowler and batsman and was studying sports and exercise science at Leeds Metropolitan University, where he tragically died in November 2012. He played for Heywood and Middleton cricket clubs and also appeared for Lancashire Cricket Club’s second team.
CRY founder and bereavement counsellor Alison Cox MBE says: “This powerful and deeply sensitive booklet articulating the thoughts and feelings of the sudden death of a fit and healthy special friend explains the ferocity of the impact of the loss. We are all born into our relationships but have the freedom to choose our friends. A good friend provides a haven of security and suddenly losing them can have a catastrophic effect on a young person.”
Liz McInnes MP, pictured with Heywood and Middleton residents and CRY supporters Margaret and Richard Hardman, Tom Crook, Sean Duffy and Michael Armitage, says: “I was delighted to attend CRY’s Parliamentary Reception and would like to congratulate the charity for the launch of the #CRY4Friends campaign which will offer support to so many young people who may otherwise have been suffering in silence following the tragic death of a good friend. It was an honour to spend time talking with Margaret and Richard, and to meet Tom, Sean and Michael who are all remarkable young men. I think they’ve produced something extremely powerful which I’m sure will help people who suffer similar tragedy.”
Every week in the UK, 12 young people aged 35 and under die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. 80% of these young people have no signs or symptoms and so the only way to detect a potentially sinister cardiac abnormality is by having cardiac screening. CRY believes that every young person should have the choice to be screened, and offers a national screening service where anyone aged 14-35 can access free cardiac screening. Visit www.testmyheart.org.uk for details of these free screenings.
To find out more about the #CRY4Friends campaign visit www.cry4friends.org.uk.
A UK-based charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), has produced a booklet for youth dealing with the loss of a friend due to SCA. Part of a broader campaign, #Cry4Friends, it is a powerful collection of personal stories.
Take a peek here: https://issuu.com/cardiacriskintheyoung/docs/friends_20booklet_20issuu
12 fit & healthy young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions each week in the UK.
At Brandwood we screen for heart conditions in our young adults health screen. Contact us for more info: 0121 296 9280
Watch the video to understand why this campaign is so important.