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Cardiac risk charity in James’s memory
6:00am Monday 28th October 2013 in Local News
THE death of a talented rugby player has inspired his family to raise awareness about the disease he never knew he had.
James Patterson was just 28 when he died in his sleep from a previously undiagnosed cardiac condition.
His family are now working with the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young, to carry out screenings for heart conditions among teenagers.
They are also supporting the charity in their Halloween campaign, where proceeds from merchandise at branches of Martin McColls newsagents will go to the charity.
James’s father, Peter Patterson, 73 of Highfield Road in Billericay, said: “James died in 2005, just overnight.
“He was very fit and active and played rugby for Campion Rugby Club, in Romford. He did not know he had the condition. For his funeral we decided we did not want people to send flowers, but instead to make a donation to charity.
“My daughter looked on the internet for a suitable charity and eventually we decided on Cry.
“Over the past few years we have been working to raise awareness of cardiac conditions in young people.
“I now carry out screenings, with professionals from the charity, at his old school, the Campion School in Hornchurch.”
Supported by members of their community, the family have raised almost £30,000 to help fund the specialist screenings.
Earlier this year, James’s sister, Catherine, ran the London Marathon.
Mr Patterson, a retired Ford car worker, said: “All this is in James’ memory.
“The screenings take the formof a simple ECG and if the doctors find something this is followed up with an ultrasound.
“We have had three screenings so far and last year we picked up four people who had abnormalities.”
Every week in the UK, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people aged 14-35 die suddenly from undiagnosed heart conditions.
The Treat Cardiac Risk in the Young Halloween campaign at Martin McColls newsagents will include a number of spooky in-store promotions for kids and families stocking up on trick and treat goodies.
Cry will receive a donation from selected products.
There will also be opportunities to donate through collection tins at the tills, via text message or online.
The nationwide campaign is hoping to raise over £100,000 McColls chose to support the campaign after its Chairman and chief executive officer, James Lancaster, lost his son Robert to sudden cardiac death in 2007, aged just 21.
He said: “We are running this Halloween campaign to raise as much money as possible for this amazing charity.”
Alison Cox, chief executive and founder of Cry added: “This is an exciting and new venture for us and due to our close relationship with James and his family, we felt confident it would be a great way for us to spread the word about the work we do among communities right across the UK.
“The stores look fantastic and with such creative Halloween branding, noone can fail to take notice of our campaign and the important messages we’re trying to promote.
“We hope everyone will have a bit of fun with TreatCRY this year, while also helping us to raise vital funds.”
For more information or to become involved, go to www.treatcry.org Donations to the TREATCRY campaign can be made in store until November 18 or you can text TREAT to 70080.
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