Rebecca Zouvani: Fund-raising Manager, Cardiac Risk in the Young
“One of my most memorable moments – amongst many – that I’ve experienced working for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) over the past 12 years took place back in 2006, shortly after joining the charity.
“Kathryn Harries, international soprano, was invited to become a CRY Patron and, during her discussions with CRY’s then Chief Executive about how she could help, spoke of her idea of walking across all the Thames Bridges between Hampton Court and Tower Bridges (around 32 miles) in one day to raise awareness and funds.
“We were all delighted and pledged to “make it happen” … and it was agreed it would take place the following summer. This “marathon” event would be followed by a shorter walk the following week, for CRY supporters, crossing 8 bridges between Westminster and Tower Bridge (including an even shorter, wheelchair and buggy friendly route).
“I set about organising both events, including “mapping out” three different routes, booking venues and securing various permissions needed as well as arranging PR, photography, fundraising packs, refreshments, balloons, and volunteers!
“Kathryn’s walk was no small feat, as I soon discovered. I decided to trial the route at the weekends with the help of a good friend who enjoys walking. It was interesting seeing different parts of London from a river perspective, whilst checking for hazards and working out suitable rest stops!
“On July 7th 2007, Kathryn, her friend Diana and “CRY’s cameraman” set off from Hampton Court Bridge with friends, family and CRY staff joining them for various sections of the route. It was a wonderful day and we were all thrilled to meet them at Tower Bridge at around 8.30pm after they’d successfully completed the challenge.
“The second, shorter walk named “the CRY Heart of London Bridges Walk” took place just over a week later (July 15th), with Kathryn leading around 400 CRY supporters, mostly bereaved families. This has now become CRY’s annual flagship event, attracting up to 1,900 people every year and Kathryn remains an active supporter!
“So, from Kathryn’s original idea sown in 2006 – which I feel so proud to have played a part in – a major annual event has evolved, raising over £800,000 to date and an immeasurable amount of awareness.
“Every week in the UK, at least 12 apparently “fit and healthy” young people (35 and under) die from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. In 80% of cases of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD) there will have been no signs or symptoms, which is why CRY believes proactive cardiac screening is so vitally important. As such, CRY now tests around 27,000 young people each year aged between 14 and 35 and over 170,000 since the screening programme was launched in 1995.”
One in every 300 young people tested by CRY will be identified with a potentially life-threating condition.
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