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The screening that could save lives

Fundraising or a heart screening day which saw more than 100 teenagers tested for potentially fatal conditions has been boosted by a donation from Lions.

President of Billingshurst Lions Ken Johnson handed over a cheque for £500 to help fund the heart testing day, which was held for pupils of The Weald School.

A team of trained staff from the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) attended the screening day at Billingshurst Leisure Centre in September.

Nursing staff, physiologists and a senior cardiologist were on site to go through the results of electrocardiogram and ultrasound tests with each pupil.

The screening detects certain heart defects that can cause sudden death.

Statistics show 12 apparently fit and healthy young people aged from 14 to 35 die from undiagnosed heart defects in the UK every week.

Screening is currently the only way to detect these conditions, but at present only a few professional sports bodies and some private schools have introduced regular screening.

The event was the first of its kind in the area.

Mr Johnson said: “Young people of the Weald are our future.

“The Lions Club saw this exercise as a means of supporting the heart screening programmes and, hopefully, of protecting our local young people. We were pleased to do so.”

Billingshurst Leisure Centre staff raised funds to pay for the screening. Manager Dale Whitford said: “We were really pleased to host the heart checks carried out by CRY.

“Our staff have worked really hard to raise money for the day and fundraising is ongoing.

“It would be great to think we could screen more young people in future and we’re hoping to hold another screening day sometime next year, which would be open to all young people.”

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