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Find the teens who may die like David; Grief-stricken relatives' appeal to health chiefs.


THE grandmother of a 15-year-old who died from a rare heart condition is urging health bosses to check teenagers and prevent other tragedies.

The ``heartbreaking'' sudden death of schoolboy David Harry left his family devastated.

Today, Lorraine Bentham, of Chester Road, Flint, will meet local politicians backing a campaign to get more youngsters monitored to identify those at risk.

David's mum, Tracy, grew up in Flint, and the teenager often stayed with Lorraine and her husband, Brian.

The teenager died two years ago at his home in New Earswick, near York, where he lived with Tracy, step-dad Ian Way and brothers James, 20, and Ryan, six, plus 14 year -old sister Amy.

He was found dead in his bed by his mum, who tried to give him the kiss of life, and his older brother, after failing to wake for school.

Lorraine said: ``It just makes me sick to think about it and what she went through. ''

After being told by the police about the death the couple had to drive to York, not knowing what had happened.

``It was the worst journey of my life. ''

A post mortem showed he had died of sudden young cardiac death. The rest of the family were checked and found to be OK.

It was the second death to hit the Yorkshire village. David's school friend died 12 months earlier from the same heart condition. He too was just 15 when he died.

Since then villagers have raised cash for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Lorraine and Brian will today meet Delyn MP David Hanson and AM Sandy Mewies, as they give their support to CRY's campaign.

It is being organised in North Wales by Doreen Harley, who lost her own daughter through an undetected heart problem.

Mr Hanson said: ``We often think of heart problems as being associated with older people, but this excellent campaign by CRY reminds us young people too can suffer from a range of heart conditions.

``I think it is vital there is better screening for high risk families

and people are made aware of the possible risks so they go to get checked out. ''

Sandy Mewies said: ``It is amazing that seven out of 79 young people, aged 14 to 35, screened by CRY in their last campaign had a cardiac condition which they didn't know about.

And cases like the tragic death of Mrs Bentham's grandson highlight how important that screening could be.

``There are at least eight deaths a week from sudden young cardiac death and whilst people should not be alarmed, they should also be aware that if they are in a family which has a history of heart problems then it is worth getting screened. ''


David Harry died of heart failure when aged just 15
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Feb 18, 2005
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