Simple Skills Save Lives - That's the Message of this Year's SADS Awareness Week

Simple Skills Save Lives - That's the Message of this Year's SADS Awareness Week

Posted: Mon, 01 Oct 2018

Simple Skills Save Lives - That's the Message of this Year's SADS Awareness Week

SADS Awareness Week will take place from 1-5 October 2018. It is organised by local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT).

The JHMT was set up after the death of Rothley teenager Joe Humphries in 2012. Joe died from SADS while out on a training jog near his home. SADS stands for sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, a collective term for a group of deadly genetic heart conditions which cause a disturbance with the heart rhythm and can lead to sudden cardiac arrest.

On Monday 1 October, SADS Week kicks off with CPR and defibrillator training at De Lisle College, which was Joe's school. Later in the week, the school will also launch Joe's Photography Competition. The annual competition, which has be running since 2013, attracts more than 100 entries per year and encourages the talents of De Lisle students as part of their Creative and Active Week. It will be judged by professional photographers and members of the JMHT team.

There'll also be news issued on Monday of another crop of Inspire award winners – that's young people who have applied to the JHMT for an Inspire Award. Inspire Awards are small grants handed out to local young people to help them fulfill their ambitions in sport, music, the arts, entrepreneurism and community ventures.

On Tuesday 2 October, CPR training will take place for members of Narborough Bowls Club in the morning and Loughborough College in the afternoon. The vital life-saving training will see adults and young people learning how to use a defibrillator as well as how to carry out cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It will be delivered for free by the JHMT.

Loughborough College Sports Academy students – the athletes of the future – will also find out more about SADS and other sudden heart deaths with a talk from Dr Ffion Davies, consultant in emergency medicine at Leicester's hospitals and medical advisor to the JHMT.

In the evening, Leicester Rowing Club, which is in the process of getting a defibrillator, will have some CPR training for its members, delivered by the Trust's Dr Mike Ferguson.

On Wednesday 3 October, a new multi-use games area in St Matthews in Leicester will be officially launching its public-access defibrillator. The site has been created thanks to £1million of funding from the charitable company Local Trust, which runs Big Local projects across the country. It has also been supported by the Cruyff Foundation, with a new pitch facility called Cruyff Court developed as part of the site.

Now, the St Matthews project has also been supported by the JHMT, which helped to ensure a defib is in place on the site and will be providing training to members of the community who will use the sports facilities.

The local youth basketball team, called St Matthews All Stars, will be getting hands- on to learn CPR and how to use a defibrillator as part of the JHMT's ongoing work to create a new generation of 'response-ability' athletes, who know how to respond quickly and have the skills to save a life should someone suffer a cardiac emergency.

On Thursday 4 October, the JHMT will be supporting the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust in ensuring that hospital and community healthcare staff are fully aware of the conditions which can cause sudden cardiac arrest in children and young people.

Dr Ffion Davies will lead a SADS conference half-day workshop for local medical practitioners including doctors, nurses and paramedics in Leicestershire & Leicester. Aimed at increasing professional knowledge around SADS, it will cover topics including screening, spotting the signs, what SADS means for families and what cardiologists will do after referral.

This conference will bring staff of many specialities together, to learn from experts in the field, as well as learning how they can influence their own community outside of hospitals and GP surgeries, to make sure that CPR skills and public access defibrillators are there at any place and any time, to treat and save the lives of victims.

JHMT patron and rugby legend Martin Johnson said: "SADS Awareness Week is a timely reminder for us all about the importance of people having basic CPR life-saving skills and knowing how to use a defibrillator. What a bystander does or does not do in those vital few seconds and minutes following a collapse can be the difference between life and death. There are 27,000 potentially survivable sudden heart deaths in the UK every year, and that includes young people.

"Simple skills really do save lives and CPR can buy vital time. If more people understand this one message during this year's SADS Week and take a few minutes to learn CPR, then we really can make further inroads into giving someone a better chance of survival."

JHMT medical lead Dr Ffion Davies said: "The SADS conference will educate hospital and community health workers about these subtle conditions and their warning signs. The expert staff at the Glenfield Hospital can diagnose patients, screen their families – as many of these conditions are genetic – and prevent future deaths with advice, medication or an 'internal' defibrillator. There is a lot to be positive about, so long as staff are aware of SADS.

"It's great to see that year on year the JHMT increases SADS awareness amongst healthcare professionals in Leicestershire, and promotes CPR training and defibrillator familiarity amongst more and more local sports organisations, schools and members of the public. This will save lives."

Rounding off the week, on Friday 5 October, De Lisle College will be holding a non-school uniform day. Students will be encouraged to dress in the JHMT colours of green and purple, and balloons will be released in memory of Joe.

James Pilbeam, head boy at the school, said: "I remember getting told about Joe's death at school as if it were yesterday. Six years on, we carry on supporting the invaluable work of the JHMT. We're honoured to support them and it's great to be taught such a fantastic skill as CPR ."

There will be a Heart Friendly Parks training session at Abbey Park's education centre on Friday 5 October, starting at 10am. To find out more, email

To find out more about the JHMT and its work, visit

You can also follow SADS Awareness Week events and activities on Facebook and Twitter: or

and on the JHMT website at (live from Sunday 30 September).

To find out more about the JHMT and its work, visit

You can also follow SADS Awareness Week events and activities on Facebook and Twitter: or

and on the JHMT website at (live from Sunday 30 September).

Tags: Events, SADS

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