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Bereaved family brings heart screening home in memory of their son

Dad Chris Embling in the pub, Rory's Return, where the screenings will take place.
Dad Chris Embling in the pub, Rory's Return, where the screenings will take place.

A simple and quick ECG test could save the lives of the 12 apparently fit and healthy young people that die each week in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions.

That is the message from the leading heart charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Rory Embling with Leeds United's Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer.

Rory Embling with Leeds United's Eddie Gray and Peter Lorimer.

On Saturday, May 26, CRY will be returning for a day of heart screenings at Rory’s Return on Fothergill Avenue, Ackworth, for young people, aged between 14 and 35.

Donations made in memory of Leeds United fan Rory Embling, who tragically died in May 2014, aged 26, from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome - have funded appointments for up to 108 free screenings during the day.

Rory’s dad, Chris, built Rory’s Return in the back garden of the family’s home to raise money for CRY.

The pub opened in August 2015 and features sports memorabilia, a dart board and a pool table.

Rory’s mum, Anne, said: “Rory was our beloved son and brother, a practicing solicitor, a good sportsman and a great friend.

“He left the family home on the May 17 2014, a seemingly fit and healthy young man and never returned home.

“He died as the result of a heart arrhythmia whilst travelling as a passenger in a car to a sporting event in Nottingham.

“Since then we have been raising money for CRY to fund this amazing opportunity so that other families might be spared the same heartache that we have endured. Please take the chance to have this free, painless test.”

Chris added: “We are so grateful for the support which we receive from friends, family and the community, who we call the Friends of Rory’s Foundation, which enables to continue our fundraising efforts.

“So far, we have succeeded in raising almost £30,000 and we will continue to work in Rory’s name until National Screening is introduced by the Government. Rory has already succeeded in saving and protecting young lives of which I am sure he would be very proud.”

An ECG test is a simple way to identify the vast majority of abnormalities that can cause sudden deaths in young people. The test is quick, non-invasive and, if necessary, a further Echocardiogram can be taken on the same day to provide further clarity or reassurance.

Chief Executive of CRY, Dr Steven Cox, said: “The death of a young person is heart-breaking and devastating for any family. It is therefore essential that anyone with a potentially fatal heart condition knows about it.

“Without this knowledge and the appropriate treatment, they could be putting their lives at risk as in 80% of cases there are no signs or symptoms.

“Sport itself does not actually cause sudden cardiac death but it can significantly increase a young person’s risk if they have an underlying condition.

“However, research carried out by CRY has also shown that a large number of these deaths will also occur when a young person is at rest or even sleeping.

“Although screening will not identify all those at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, the incidence of young sudden cardiac death has decreased by 90%.

“CRY now tests around 27,000 young people, aged 14-35, annually. But we still believe screening needs to be extended to all young people”

CRY’s screening programme is overseen by Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor of Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and Sports Cardiology at St George’s University of London and the Medical Director of the Virgin London Marathon. Professor Sharma makes no charge for supervising the CRY screening programme and due to this support, CRY is able to subsidise the programme significantly- privately, these tests could cost hundreds of pounds.

Dr Cox added “I would also like to say an enormous thank you to everyone involved with Rory’s Foundation for supporting our screening programme and helping us to make expert cardiac testing more accessible to young people both in Ackworth and throughout the UK.”