A FUND-RAISING campaign in memory of Cheadle teenager Joe Leyland, has created a lasting legacy in his name. Joe's family have raised more thank £30,000 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), funding defibrillators at schools and providing heart screening sessions for 100 young people in 2018.
Joe died on August 29, 2016 from an undiagnosed heart condition. He was just 16.
His sudden death was a devastating blow to his parents, Ian and Maria, and sister Charlotte.
In October 2016, the family held a coffee morning in aid of CRY – an event which led to a major fund-raising appeal supported by hundreds of people across the Cheadle area.
Since then, bingo nights, coffee mornings and a spectacular bash to celebrate what would have been Joe’s 18th birthday, have seen the family’s fund-raising total reach £30,004.45.
Mum Maria said: “As a parent, you never think that losing a child so suddenly without any warning could actually happen to you, but when it does, your whole world turns upside down, and trying to rebuild it is a continual battle every day.
“It is truly amazing what we have achieved over the past two years.
“This could not have been possible without the generosity of our local community,whether it was by attending our events or people organizing their own.”
Initially, the family decided to aim for £5,000, which would fund a day of heart-screening in Cheadle for 100 young people.
But the swell of support has seen their appeal taken to the hearts of the community.
Maria added: “The first £3,000 has gone direct to CRY and then £5,000 was used to do the first day of screening in 2018.
“We’ve set aside £10,000 for 2019 to do a full weekend of heart screening, so we will be able to offer appointments to 200 people this year.
“We’ve also bought two defibrillators which have been installed and are there in case of emergency.
“That leaves us almost £5,000 which we will build on so we can make sure we can fund a day of heart screening every year.”
Over the last 12 months in particular, the drive for CRY accelerated and the family have been amazed and grateful for the support they have received in their efforts.
Maria said: “Really I’m just amazed by it all, how everybody has continued to support us. “So many people have turned out again and again, they’ve helped us raise this amazing amount.
“We will continue fund-raising for the heart screening sessions each year, but not to the extent we have been doing over the last 18 months – although we would like to possibly raise enough for another defibrillator.
“The heart screening is free of charge and it’s literally 10 minutes which could potentially save someone’s life.
“If anybody can take the opportunity to attend locally especially, at least we know we’ve put that bit back into the community.
“We don’t want anyone going through what we have.
“This will allow 200 people to be screened, rather than the 100 that we screened this year.
“It is so important to make the screening an ongoing event and make it available for all 14 to 35 year olds across our local area.
“Screening events also take place all over the country including in Stoke-on-Trent and Leek.
“People can just go on the website and book in anywhere that’s local – they don’t have to wait until we hold a session.”
Hattie Harrison, 22, from Cheadle attended the CRY heart screening session funded by the Leyland family last year. She said: “The process itself is quick, easy and painless, so I’d encourage anyone within the age range to sign up for a screening when they get the chance.
“Heart screenings are really important, especially for young people, so for the Leylands to have raised so much money to provide a service which could potentially prevent another family going through what they have is something special.”
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