July 11, 2023: Every day, strong and healthy young people die suddenly from heart conditions they didn’t know they had. A not-for-profit organisation TOBE-Heartsafe tobe-heartsafe.org.uk is on a mission to provide cardiac screening, CPR training and defibrillators to local communities via schools and sports clubs.
An informal ‘Drop-in’ at Portcullis House, sponsored by Carolyn Harris MP, included footballer Fabrice Muamba who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Tottenham Hotspurs’ White Hart Lane. For an astonishing 78 minutes, medics battled to get his heart beating again and twice discussed declaring him as dead. The TOBE team offered MPs the chance to learn 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 #mpsupport4tobeheartsafe.
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 says: “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. For every minute someone is in cardiac arrest without CPR and access to a defibrillator, their chances of survival drops by up to 10%. 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.”
TOBE-Screened is managed by expert cardiologists alongside specialist cardiac physiologists and nurses. The aim is to detect any underlying cardiac conditions in 14 – 35 year olds and the team offer on-site screening consisting of an exercise/health questionnaire, BP check, 12 lead ECG and an echocardiogram if required. The cardiologist’s expertise is essential to reduce incidence, and differentiate between pathological and physiological cardiac changes – particularly for those involved in sport. TOBE-Trained offers comprehensive, yet enjoyable, hands on BLS and AED training giving learners the skills, knowledge, understanding and confidence in CPR and the safe use of an AED.
Carolyn Harris MP says: “I am proud to champion the aims of TOBE-Heartsafe and delighted to sponsor the MP drop-in to encourage my colleagues to take the message of basic life support training and the importance of screening to their constituents. I commend the TOBE-Heartsafe charitable and community aims and I will be working with the team to help facilitate a programme in Swansea, hopefully this year.”
At the moment TOBE-Heartsafe has already organised two public screening and training events for August and September in London and hope to expand to other areas of the country. The TOBE team have over 40 years of experience within healthcare including cardiology specialists, sport & fitness. The consultant cardiologists work across leading hospitals including St Bart’s, Great Ormond Street Hospital and The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
To simply donate to the community programme or find out more about the drop-in events, go to
TOBE-Heartsafe provides cardiac screening, CPR training and defibrillators for schools and sports clubs, and helps fund community plans. Its team of cardiac physiologists, nurses and cardiologists provide an on-site screening service which includes a questionnaire, BP check and resting 12 lead ECG. These results are immediately reviewed by the cardiologists. In around 10% of cases the cardiologist will request an Echocardiogram and this will be done on-site on the same day as the screening. In a very small number of cases, following the Echocardiogram, the cardiologist might suggest further investigations which can be arranged through the cardiologists or with a structured referral to your GP.