Shropshire Star

200 young people to have their hearts screened in Shrewsbury after fundraiser in memory of brother

About 200 young people will have their hearts screened for potentially life-threatening conditions in Shrewsbury this weekend.


Sam Barker has raised £17,000 - £5,000 of which will be used to put the sessions on for free - in memory of his brother, Johny, who suffered sudden cardiac death.

Sam, Johny, and their family were out walking in 2001 when 20-year-old Johny split off from the group.

By the time the family found him he was on the floor and could not be resuscitated.

Sam was 22 when his brother died. Now a farmer in Shrewsbury, he said: "He was completely healthy up until the day his heart stopped beating.

"It's taken many years to come to terms with it but for the last couple of years we've now been raising money and awareness for charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY)."

Johny died 16 years ago tomorrow.

Every week 12 young people die from sudden cardiac death, but there is still no routine system of NHS heart screenings for young people.

Sam, 38, added: "Some other countries screen everybody at a young age but not here.

"We're trying to raise awareness, especially to get people to not ignore any symptoms and get it checked out.

"It could just be bad stitch or heart burn and people will dismiss it, but it could be a sign of something more serious."

Sam added: "One in 200 people carry a problem that can be looked at in the future, so hopefully there will be at least one person that can be helped.

"They put heart monitors on your chest to see your heart signal."

Sam held a charity ball last year which raised £34,000. Half was given to Cardiac Risk in the Young and half was split between Shrewsbury Ark and Self help Africa.

CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families.

The charity also promotes and develops heart screening programmes, funds medical research, and funds specialist referral, screening and cardiac pathology services at leading UK hospitals.

The screenings, which will take place at Prestfelde School today and tomorrow, are now fully booked up but Sam said he will be organising more in the future.

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