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Community / Heart screening fundraiser launched

Siobhan Pirie and PJ with their children Merran and Steven. Photo: Odd Poppy Photography

THE TEAM behind plans to hold free heart screening events for young people in Shetland has launched a fundraising campaign after getting the green light to host clinics in the coming years.

Shetland Heart Screening was formed earlier this year by Siobhan Pirie from Gulberwick, whose husband John Pirie (PJ) unexpectedly passed away in 2017 at the age of just 29 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

She started looking into bringing a free heart screening event for everyone in Shetland aged between 14 and 35 in memory of her husband.

The charity Cardiac Risk in the Young has now given the green light for its screening events to come to Shetland, but funds need to be in place for this to happen.

Shetland Heart Screening has launched an online Just Giving page for donations, with a target set for £25,000.

It is hoped that the first screenings could take place in the summer of 2021.

The group, which is now led by a committee comprising of Siobhan, Kim Pirie, Andrea Laurenson, Fern Johnson and Maura Gray, also plan on running fundraising events like raffles, sponsored walks, Sunday teas and restaurant nights.

“At this point we also welcome anyone who would like to help or support us with their own fundraising events,” Siobhan said.

“We are happy to help in any way we can, and will publicise any events on our Facebook page.”

Siobhan added that the committee is “very excited about making this happen but without the support and encouragement from everyone else it wouldn’t be possible, so we again thank everyone for their positive feedback”.

The screenings would take the form of a non-invasive ECG (electrocardiogram) test which may pick up conditions that do not have any noticeable symptoms.

Cardiac Risk in the Young holds screening clinics across the UK, with the charity for instance hosting screenings in Orkney this weekend.

The heart screenings tend to be for people under the age of 35 as beyond that age most sudden deaths are due to atherosclerotic coronary artery disease rather than hereditary or congenital abnormalities.