April 24, 2023: Every day, strong and healthy young people die suddenly from heart conditions they didn’t know they had. A new not-for-profit organisation TOBE-Heartsafe tobe-heartsafe.org.uk is on a mission to provide cardiac screening, CPR training and defibrillators for schools and sports clubs, and is pleased to launch its new scheme.
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 screen 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.
The first event of its kind took place at Oundle School, with parents are given the opportunity to have their child take part in the initial TOBE heart screening programme. 48 pupils took part and were screened by expert cardiologists from St Barts Hospital and The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford alongside specialist cardiac physiologists and nurses. The on-site screening of a BP check and 12 lead ECG aims to detect any underlying cardiac condition and the cardiologist’s expertise is essential to reduce incidence and differentiate between pathological and physiological cardiac changes – particularly for those involved in sport.
The team will return to Oundle School this Summer to screen more pupils and launch the community part of the TOBE plan. 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. We’ve seen in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, a reduction in the incidence of young sudden cardiac death by 90%. We want to expand screening across the UK, and we chose Oundle School as the first location because of its strong links with the local community and sports clubs. We are hugely grateful to everyone at the school for their support for our mission.”
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.
Rachel Makhzangi, Director of Communications at Oundle comments: “TOBE-Heartsafe was initially brought to our awareness by one of our parents. We were delighted to help support its charitable and community aims by hosting a screening programme here at Oundle which our parents could book directly with TOBE-Heartsafe. We look forward to supporting a further screening event in May which in turn will facilitate a wider rollout of the programme into the local Oundle community.”
Andrew Tobin, a former pupil at Oundle School whose children now go to the school confirms the importance of early diagnosis: “I was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy when at Oundle at the age of 16 when my father was diagnosed with the same condition. Because I was alerted to the condition (which had and still has no obvious symptoms) I have been able to have it regularly monitored ever since, avoiding high-intensity sports. Over the years it has progressed and I have a lot of reassurance from the diagnosis and monitoring I now have, enabling me to lead an active life. I’m delighted that Oundle School are helping facilitate this important programme as early diagnosis is key when there are no symptoms.”
To simply donate to the community programme or find out more go to tobe-heartsafe.org.uk
For press enquiries or interviews with our expert cardiologists and cardiac nurses or about the scheme at Oundle School contact: Kerry Milliken Tel: 07799714006 Email: email@example.com
For booking and programme enquiries speak to Clare or Lucia at TOBE Tel: 07561 611768 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Oundle School Founded in 1556, Oundle School is one of Britain’s leading co-educational independent schools with a full boarding ethos, situated in the small, charming market town of Oundle, Northamptonshire. Travel from London is less than an hour by train yet the School enjoys a beautiful setting in the heart of the UK countryside. The School and town are closely entwined, with Oundelians taking their place within this wider community, not isolated from it. Oundle is home to 840 boarders and 300-day pupils, which equates to a pupil population of approximately three-quarters full boarding and a quarter day. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school located in East Road, Oundle for 250 children aged 4 to 11.