Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) – NAHT Presidential Charity 2022/2023

On October 21, 2002, my brother-in-law Huw Lewis died while playing in a game of football. Huw was 33 years old, the same age as me at the time. Huw left his pregnant wife Sarah and 5-year-old daughter Molly and a devastated set of parents, siblings, friends, and colleagues. Huw was always full of life and fun; he was a warm, friendly, and caring person, a proud Welsh boy, active in sport and with a wide network of friends and a loving family. Huw’s death was particularly hard for our family to comprehend as he was extremely fit, having played semi-professional football for many years, and training to take part in the 2003 London Marathon.

After the initial shock had subsided, our questions arose. Why did he die? What caused his death? Is there anything we could have done about it? Huw died of Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick (hypertrophied). The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood. With this information, our family searched the internet for any other support and information that may help us come to terms with Huw’s death. We quickly came upon the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).

CRY arranged for all Huw’s siblings and their children to be screened for heart conditions in case there was a genetic factor in his death. CRY also arranged for over a hundred young people get screened in Huw’s memory at a football festival at Huw’s home village football and cricket club in Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire. At that screening event, two young people were found to have heart conditions that could have led to their sudden death. At that time, helping to prevent two more families from going through the terrible experience of losing a young person provided some comfort to Huw’s family and friends.

Every week in the UK, at least twelve young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions.

Since its formation in 1995, Cardiac Risk in the Young has been working to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD). CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by YSCD. CRY promotes and develops heart screening programmes and funds medical research. CRY publishes and distributes medical information written by leading cardiologists for the general public. CRY funds specialist referral, screening, and cardiac pathology services at leading UK hospitals.

CRY, whose vision is in preventing young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, and supporting affected families, is the charity that I have chosen to champion in my year as NAHT president. Find out more about CRY here, and if you have the opportunity to help the charity in any way, either through fundraising or awareness-raising, please do.

Warm regards,

Paul Gosling, NAHT president

Find out more about CRY



Call: 01737 363222 (Available 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays)

Date published: 16 May 2022