A FAMILY is campaigning for more heart awareness screenings following the sudden death of their son.

On March 18 2015, Sue and David Hughes were hit with tragedy when their 28-year-old son Daniel died peacefully in his sleep from an undiagnosed heart defect which caused Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

Up until this point, Daniel had been a fit and healthy young man, playing football every weekend and regularly attending his local gym. After his death, his parents teamed up with heart screening charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), which provides screening for young people between the ages of 14 and 35 years old.

CRY promotes and develops heart screening programmes, funds medical research and offers bereavement support to families affected by young sudden cardiac death (YSCD).

Sudden deaths like Daniel's, where there are no prior symptoms, happen on average 12 times a week in the UK, however, CRY’s heart screening programme have reduced this statistic by 89 per cent.

Mr Hughes, who works at BAE Systems, said: “Before Daniel’s death, we’d never heard of CRY. We had so many donations at Daniel’s funeral which we didn’t know what to do with. We discovered the charity CRY and set up a memorial fund with the intention of screening 100 of Daniel’s close friends. Unfortunately we were the unlucky ones and we want to try and do something to try and prevent this ever from happening again.”

Since they began fundraising, David, Sue and their daughter Kim have raised more than £215,000 for the Daniel Hughes Heart Screening Fund which aims to provide a minimum of 200 local young people with access to annual heart screenings.

The Screening Fund has financed the screening of 1,204 young people, 37 of which were referred for further investigation or treatment. One 17-year-old girl was diagnosed with complete heart block and underwent an operation to have a life-saving pace maker fitted following one of the screening sessions.

Mr Hughes said: “We will never know if heart screening would have saved our precious son’s life but we never want another family to go through what we went through.

“All we can do is work hard to ensure that Dan’s legacy lives on for years to come."

In April, Mr Hughes, alongside nine others, will be completing the three peaks challenge to fundraise for both CRY and the Daniel Hughes Heart Screening Fund.

Donate at virginmoneygiving.com/SomeoneSpecial/DanHughes.

Mr Hughes aims to set up a session in Barrow and is looking for local support to help fund the event, the cost of which is £5,000 per day where up to 100 young people can be screened.