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Free heart screenings offered by family of Bickley teenager who died from undiagnosed cardiac condition

16:16 26 June 2012

Ben Daniels with CRY patron and former cricketer Paul Nixon (left)

Ben Daniels with CRY patron and former cricketer Paul Nixon (left)

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The family of a Bickley teenager who died of a cardiac arrest while playing football are offering free heart screenings to youngsters on Saturday (June 30).

Ben Daniels was 15 when he collapsed on March 5 last year while playing for Ex-Blues Junior Football Club and died three days later.

His parents Paul and Helena established the Ben Daniels Memorial Fund and have joined forces with Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to offer the first round of screenings at the Old Elthamians Sports Club in Perry Street, Chislehurst, from 10am to 4pm.

Mr Daniels said: “When Ben died it was a massive shock because there was no warning. As parents, we wanted to find out why.

“I can’t thank our friends, neighbours and Ben’s friends enough for their efforts and energy in helping us to raise funds and continued awareness for the importance of cardiac screening in young people.”

Every week, 12 young people die from sudden cardiac death in the UK.

The fund was launched on March 16, the day before the sudden collapse of Fabrice Muamba while playing in a live televised football match.

It has already raised £59,000 of the initial target of £100,000 with various fundraising efforts including marathons and cake sales.

Chief executive and founder of CRY Alison Cox MBE said: “During the Olympic year, and in the wake of Fabrice Muamba’s collapse, there is heightened awareness of athletes and elite sports people who may be at rick of sudden cardiac arrest.

“It takes enormous courage for a family to look beyond their own tragedy and want to raise funds for CRY to help save another life and prevent other families from having to suffer in the way they have.”

The Daniels’ remaining child Frances is now 13 and has provided support in the fundraising effort. The screening day will be aimed at former team-mates of Ben and all 100 places have already been filled.

There will be another test day at Ravens Wood School on November 30 this year.

Mr Daniels said: “Knowing what we know, if we save just one life and one set of parents going through what we went through that would be worth it. We couldn’t live with ourselves if something happened.

“All it takes is a five minute test. We ask ourselves why didn’t we know? Why wasn’t it offered to us? This is a positive memorial to Ben.”

To donate to the fund, visit www.bendanielsmemorialfund.co.uk.

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