John Healey MP met with ex-footballer Fabrice Muamba and TOBE-Heartsafe as they launched a new mission to provide cardiac screening, CPR training and defibrillators to local communities via schools and sports clubs.
The Wentworth and Dearne MP joined Fabrice, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspurs’ White Hart Lane ground in 2012, and the TOBE team who were demonstrating their life-saving skills training, including CPR and the use of an AED, as well as discussing cardiac screening for young people.
While all state funded schools in England are required to teach first aid as part of statutory Health Education, TOBE-Heartsafe believes that training should be given annually and would like the government to consider extending the requirement into primary schools.
John Healey MP said: “There’s no price that can be put on saving a life and I’m pleased to meet with Fabrice and the TOBE-Heartsafe team to hear about the basic life support training and heart screening they offer.
“For every minute someone is in cardiac arrest without CPR and access to a defibrillator, their chances of survival drops by up to 10%.
“Every day, strong and healthy young people die suddenly from heart conditions they didn’t know they had. Raising awareness of the tests that are available and the training on offer is vital to saving lives.”
TOBE-Heartsafe (TOBE) was created out of a tragedy when in July 2019, 22 year old Toby (or Tobe as he was known to friends and family) was found dead on his bedroom floor by his mother – Sam Richards – from an undiagnosed heart condition.
At the time of death he was fitter and healthier than he’d ever been. His death was registered as SADS – Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome. The tragedy brought together a team of people and specialists who decided to form a CIC (Community Interest Company) to extend screening and training services beyond just the few who can afford to pay for them, building in a like-for-like plan to offer services free of charge to those in the local community where feasible.
Sam Richards, co-founder of TOBE-Heartsafe said: “Over the past three years since Toby’s death I have been keen to tell his story and help to raise awareness and encourage people to get screened.
“Every week in the UK, around 12 young people (under the age of 35) die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition and 80% of these deaths will occur with no prior symptoms.
“We feel that everyone should be encouraged to learn basic life support training. The ultimate aim is to prevent the premature and sudden deaths of other young people who should still be alive, like Tobe.”
You can find out more about TOBE-Heartsafe online at www.tobe-heartsafe.org.uk