Parents' heartfelt pledge

A COUPLE whose daughter died from an undetected heart condition are taking action to prevent it happening with other Suffolk teenagers.Kate and Robi Fox, of Woodbridge, are setting up a mobile screening session with the backing of the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY)charity for people aged 14 to 35.

A COUPLE whose daughter died from an undetected heart condition are taking action to prevent it happening with other Suffolk teenagers.

Kate and Robi Fox, of Woodbridge, are setting up a mobile screening session with the backing of the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY)charity for people aged 14 to 35. An electrocardiogram machine (ECG) will be used to identify hidden heart problems.

Screening sessions are becoming more common in other counties but it is believed this will be the first time Suffolk has held such an event.

The couple's 13-year-old daughter Laura, a pupil at Farlingaye High School, Woodbridge, died suddenly at home after returning from a family holiday in 1998. She was a very athletic girl who loved sports.


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CRY, a charity set up in 1995, says that heart problems are more likely to occur in active, young people, because the heart is put under greater strain. A sudden cardiac death can also occur after exertion or during rest, and experts believe that four to eight young people die each week in the UK from an undiagnosed cardiac condition.

Mr and Mrs Fox have already raised £5,000 to buy an ECG testing machine for the St John's Street surgery, Thoroughfare, Woodbridge, and their fundraising efforts have included an auction at Suffolk police headquarters which brought in £7,000.

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They hope that ultimately ECG testing will be available at sports clubs and schools, and they are hoping sixth formers at Farlingaye will attend the screening in March.

Mrs Fox, practice manager at Little St John's Street surgery, Woodbridge, said: ''The screening is to raise awareness and to let people know that it is available.''

There are 38 available spaces at the session from 9.30am to 4.30pm on March 22 at the Courtyard Marriott, Ransomes Europark. The hotel has donated free facilities and there will be no charge for the tests, although donations will be welcome and the screenings must be booked in advance.

The screening is available to anyone in the age range and could be particularly relevant to families who have had a relative die suddenly from a heart problem.

CRY said: ''In the rare event that a cardiac abnormality is diagnosed you must be aware that your GP can disclose such information to insurance companies, and findings may affect certain mortgage applications, particular types of life insurance and some careers.''

Victims include Daniel Yorath, 15, son of the former Leeds star Terry who died playing football in the garden with his father, junior international footballer John Marshall, 16, who died on the day he was due to join Everton, and international bodybuilder Andy Hornby, 23. He died during a Mr England contest.

Further details about the screening and bookings are available from Mr and Mrs Fox on 01394 380614.

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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