Donations to the Michael Cadman Memorial Fund have paid for free cardiac screenings at Arbroath High School at the start of March.
The ECG (electrocardiogram) tests are a simple way to identify the vast majority of abnormalities that can cause sudden deaths in young people. The test is quick, non-invasive and painless and, if necessary, a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken on the same day to provide further clarity or reassurance.
Michael was a pupil at AHS until 2007. A keen guitarist, his great love was music. He was in a band and started a BA degree in Audio Engineering at Perth College UHI. Described by Dad Ian, Mum Jessie and sister Jennifer as a quiet, kind, thoughtful, loving and fun son and brother, Michael suddenly and without warning collapsed and died after suffering a cardiac arrest. Subsequent investigations revealed that Michael had an undiagnosed heart condition. Similar cases included local amateur boxer Barrie Lee, who was Scottish Light Middleweight Champion 2004. Following Michael’s death, the family established the Michael Cadman Memorial Fund which has benefited from very generous donations from a number of local people and organisations.
On March 8 and 9, leading heart charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) will be holding its first ECG cardiac screening clinic in Arbroath. Young people in S4, S5 and S6 at Arbroath High School (AHS) have been invited to be tested, with the support of AHS’s Acting Head Teacher, Mr Pandrich and Angus Council’s Schools and Learning Department. Donations made in memory of Michael Cadman, who tragically died in 2007 from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, aged just 17, have funded appointments for up to one hundred free screenings during each day. The simple and quick ECG test could save the lives of the 12 apparently fit and healthy young people that die each week in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions.
Chief Executive of CRY, Dr. Steven Cox, says: “The death of a young person is heartbreaking and devastating for any family. It is therefore essential that anyone with a potentially fatal heart condition knows about it. Without this knowledge and, if necessary, appropriate treatment, they could be putting their lives at risk as in 80 per cent of cases there are no signs or symptoms. Sport itself does not actually cause sudden cardiac death but it can significantly increase a young person’s risk if they have an underlying condition. However, research carried out by CRY has also shown that a large number of these deaths will also occur when a young person is at rest or even sleeping.”
Michael’s father Ian Cadman told the Herald: “This screening event is the first to be performed at AHS and indeed any school in Angus. The fund has benefitted from very generous donations from sources such as my employers Subsea 7 and work colleagues, local organisations such as Lodge St Thomas, Angus Machine Knitters, and collection boxes located both here in Arbroath and at St Andrews.
“Other fund raising activities have included eight work colleagues and friends taking part in the 2009 Grand Fondo Nove Colli, which was a gruelling 200km race over 9 of the Italian Alps, another work colleague’s wife Karen Wilds completing the 2014 London Marathon. Michael’s Cousin Dean Cargill put on two musical band nights at Glasgow and Ayr and also released a CD of a song recorded specially produced in his memory. With us ourselves taking part in a sponsored Forth Bridge walk, and a CRY awareness week Bake event at the local Darlings Coffee Shop.”
Donations have also been made directly to CRY by Arbroath Rotaract and from the late Barrie Lee’s fiancée Stacey Walker and their family. CRY’s screening programme is overseen by Professor Sanjay Sharma, Professor of Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and Sports Cardiology at St George’s Hospital London and the Medical Director of the Virgin London Marathon. He is a leading expert in cardiac conditions in young people and a heart rhythm specialist. Professor Sharma makes no charge for supervising the CRY screening programme and due to this support, CRY is able to significantly subsidise the programme - privately, these tests could cost hundreds of pounds.
Ian Cadman continued: “The screening is all painless, non-invasive and takes only a few minutes to perform. We sincerely hope that no cases of heart problems are detected, but if anyone does have a condition detected it is far better to have the correct diagnosis, treatment/preventative measures (of which there are many) put in place followed by the continuing support that the C-R-Y charity can provide.”
Guardians of S5/6 pupils at AHS have been provided with booking instructions via the school. For more information, go to www.testmyheart.org