A CHAMPION cyclist who died unexpectedly has inspired dozens of young people to undergo screening for potentially dangerously heart conditions.

Darlington man Andrew Oliver was just 36 when he died suddenly from a heart condition he did not know he had - like 80 per cent of young people who die of cardiac problems.

Previously a competitive cyclist with several trophies to his name, he had been on a 50 mile ride earlier on the day he died in February 2017.

After getting home he collapsed and died despite efforts to resusciate him. 

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It was only after a postmortem examination that it was discovered he had a heart condition. 

His story has inspired almost 80 people to undergo screening for potentially dangerous heart conditions at an event at Elm Ridge Methodist Church, which was organized by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

The Northern Echo:

Since Andrews’ death, his parents Judith and Chris have created a memorial fund with CRY to pay for free local heart screenings for young people in Darlington and surrounding areas.

Friends and family have raised about £14,500 to support CRY and about £16,500 raised to pay for local heart screenings. 

Mrs Oliver said: “Chris and I would both like to publicly thank our family and friends and everyone who has helped and supported us over the past five years. You have enabled something good and purposeful to come from Andrew’s death.

"We will also continue to do all we can to influence the UK National Screening Committee to bring about change and strategy to reduce the rising number of young sudden cardiac deaths in this country.”

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Dr Steven Cox, chief executive of Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) said: “Judith and Chris, their family, friends and the entire local community have worked so hard to raise the funds needed to bring cardiac screening back to Darlington for a second time, in memory of Andrew – and as a result, were able to test another 77 people.

“Of this, two young people were identified as requiring referral for further investigations – highlighting the importance of CRY’s screening programme, which now provides testing for over 30,000 young people in the UK every year. And, it’s due to the incredible commitment and fundraising efforts of families such as Andrew’s that we are able to offer our programme at no cost to the individual when they sign up to be screened at www.testmyheart.org.uk.

“As with so many of CRY’s amazing supporters, the Oliver family have so bravely been able to see beyond their own devastating experience to help play a crucial part in preventing other families from having to endure the same devastating grief as they have.

“We owe so much to our supporters and will continue to work hard on their behalf to ensure we can reduce the incidence of young sudden cardiac death through awareness, research and screening, as well as campaigning for cardiac screening to be extended, one day, to all young people”

The Northern Echo:

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