Parents call for free heart testing after sudden death of teenage daughter

Alex Reid passed away in her sleep from an undiagnosed heart condition, aged just 16.
Alex Reid passed away in her sleep from an undiagnosed heart condition, aged just 16.

The parents of a teenager who died in her sleep from an undiagnosed heart condition are calling on the Government to develop a “national strategy” by screening all young people for cardiac risk.

Heather and John Reid, originally from Worksop, have raised £70,000 in funding for charity Cardiac Arrest in the Young since their daughter, Alex, passed away in 2012, aged just 16.

But the couple say this is not enough to save hundreds of lives, and are now campaigning for cardiac screening to become available on the NHS for everyone aged 14 to 35.

Heather, a lecturer at Nottingham University, said: “Alex’s life was not just ‘a life’. It was a young life that could have contributed so much, but never really got the chance.

“Alex died on the night before her final GCSE exam.

“She was a bright girl who wanted to be a medic herself, and I know she would very much support a plan to offer free heart testing nationally.”

Since Alex’s death, it is estimated 2,500 young people in the UK will have died from an undiagnosed heart condition.

Heather said: “This is one of the biggest killers in young people aged 14 to 35. You can’t call it a ‘rare’ thing.

“Alex was a fit and healthy teenager – we didn’t know she had an abnormality.

“There are other young people who seem perfectly fine, but are very much at risk.”

Heather and John, who live in Thorpe Salvin, recently took on the Great North Run as part of their fundraising efforts.

The event had particular poignancy for “Team Alex” as it took place just days before what should have been her 21st birthday today, September 16.

Money raised so far has financed an upcoming heart screening event at Kiveton Park Medical Practice, where John works as a GP, with 200 young people booking to have their hearts checked out.

This is the third screening event held at the practice, and the couple said they plan to continue to hold free screenings as long as funds allow.

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