The heart test saving young Sheffielders’ lives

Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre
Ian and Elaine Ward who started the charity after their son died suddenly
Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre Ian and Elaine Ward who started the charity after their son died suddenly
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A mum who tragically lost her 17-year-old son when his heart suddenly stopped beating is on a mission to ensure no-one has to endure the pain of losing their child because of a heart defect .

And Elaine Ward, from Dronfield, is making in-roads in her quest.

Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre
Mark Hesketh is scanned on an ECG machine by Manager Peter Lewis

Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre Mark Hesketh is scanned on an ECG machine by Manager Peter Lewis

She has already saved lives by helping to establish a program offering heart screening scans to those aged between 14 and 35.

Mrs Ward, of Longacre Road, raises funds for the Cardiac Risk in the Young organisation - CRY, after her son Neil died when his heart stopped.

And yesterday scans were being carried out at Abbeydale Sports Club in Sheffield.

Seven staff were operating three electrocardiogram machines at the club.

I know we’re saving lives. We have had a couple of serious conditions found

The life-saving tests only take a few minutes.

Mrs Ward started fundraising in 2014, and this weekend the organisation scanned its 1,000th patient.

Mrs Ward said every day was emotional and Neil was never far from her thoughts.

“What I’m doing now, I could never have done for many years,” Mrs Ward said.

Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre
Mark Hesketh is scanned on an ECG machine by Manager Peter Lewis

Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre Mark Hesketh is scanned on an ECG machine by Manager Peter Lewis

Her life and those of her husband Ian and their son Alistair, were turned upside down after Neil’s untimely death, which happened just five days before Christmas in 1992.

Neil, 17, had been at a scout meeting when his heart suddenly stopped beating.

“We got a phone call from his mates to say he’d collapsed,” Mrs Ward said.

They rushed to the meeting, to find an ambulance outside and shocked teenagers inside.

Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre
Mark Hesketh is scanned on an ECG machine by Manager Peter Lewis

Cardiac Risk in the Young screening session at Abbeydale Sports Centre Mark Hesketh is scanned on an ECG machine by Manager Peter Lewis

Neil was taken to hospital, but he failed to survive.

The cause of his death was recorded as ‘unknown’.

Mrs Ward said Neil had aspirations to study georgraphy, and his university applications had been sent off.

His name lives on through a memorial fund opened by Mrs Ward in his name.

It pays the charity to conduct the scans, which cost £50 each.

Mrs Ward, 66, said just one life being saved made the campaign worth it.

“If we can prevent further deaths and prevent families going through what we’ve gone through it is worth it.

“I know we’re saving lives. We have had a couple of serious conditions found.”

Yesterday she paid tribute to all the generous supporters who dug deep to make the screening day possible.