Sheffield woman on a mission save young people's lives through heart scans

Ian and Elaine Ward who started the charity after their son died suddenly
Ian and Elaine Ward who started the charity after their son died suddenly
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A Sheffield woman is on a mission to ensure no-one has to endure the pain of losing their child to a heart defect.

And Elaine Ward’s quest is making inroads. She has already saved lives through a program offering heart scans for people aged between 14 and 35.

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

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

Mrs Ward raises funds for the Cardiac Risk in the Young organisation, and they were scanning in Sheffield yesterday at Abbeydale Sports Club.

Seven staff were operating three electrocardiogram machines at the club.

The tests take minutes.

Mrs Ward started fundraising for tests in 2014, and this weekend, they scanned their 1000th patient.

The magic figure was passed at Swanwick on Saturday.

The plan was to undertake another 100 scans in Sheffield yesterday.

Longacre Road, Dronfield woman, Mrs Ward said every day was emotional, with Neil never far from her thoughts.

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

Her’s, husband Ian’s and son Alistair’s lives were turned upside down with 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.

Paramedics were called, and Neil was taken to hospital, but it was too late.

His cause of death was, at the time, unknown.

Neil had aspirations to study geography, and his university applications had been sent away.

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

It pays for the scans, which now cost £0 per

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,” she said.

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

She paid tribute to all the generous supporters who dig deep to make the screening days possible.

“I’d like to say a thank you to all the people who have supported me financially,” Mrs Ward said.

“Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to do this.”