Stowmarket mum to help heart screen 600 people by summer after daughter Lily Webster died from rare condition in 2012
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Almost four years after she lost her 15-year-old daughter to an undiagnosed heart condition, Melanie Webster is fighting so families do not suffer the same tragedy.
It was just another cold January afternoon when Lily Webster collapsed during a school trampolining class. An inquest found she died from the rare heart condition called sudden adult death syndrome.
The popular Stowmarket High School pupil’s friends and family rallied and organised a series of fundraisers to support the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).
In 2014, Mrs Webster and her family held the first two of their heart-screening days at the school, using CRY’s medics, for children and adults between 14 and 35. About 200 people attended – with some sent for further tests as heart anomalies were detected.
Now the family is raising money, on top of the £35,000 already collected, to support the third year of free heart tests – which will bring the total screened to about 600.
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“We have done a lot over the year – we screened about 200 people again and this year are looking to hold it over a weekend so some older people in work can attend,” Mrs Webster said.
“I have a really lovely group of friends who I could not do without. It’s quite nice as we enjoy the fundraising things that we choose to do which is really good. We want the screening to carry on and to make sure that it is available to young people. We want screening to not have to be funded by charity, but the government.”
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It will be the fourth anniversary of Lily’s death on January 16 – and Mrs Webster said the day would be difficult to get through.
“We try and do something to celebrate her birthday in June, but January we are together as a family,” she added. “I think it’s very difficult to comprehend that time can pass; and I will never understand why [Lily passed away].”
In the UK, children do not undergo mandatory electro-cardiogram tests which can diagnose cardiac defects. CRY says at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions every week.
And countries such as Italy compulsorily test all children who participate in sport.
It costs £3,500 for a day of screening carried out by CRY doctors – with a limited team available to cover the whole country.
Events held so far by the Webster family include a London to Brighton walk which raised £4,000, film evenings at the Regal Theatre, a fashion show organised with Stowmarket boutique Molls and Dolls and a memorial football match involving school teachers.
The third lot of screening days is to be held in July. To donate to the Lily Webster Memorial Fund go to: www.c-r-y.org.uk or call 01737 363222.