Family’s bid to buy lifesaver for football teams

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A grandmother has launched a fundraising campaign to buy lifesaving equipment after her grandson was diagnosed with a rare condition.

Christine Pepper hopes to buy a defibrillator for the Young Dons football teams which her 10-year-old grandson Brendan Flowers plays for, after new research showed his condition could lead to heart problems.

Christine, of Weston, has extra reason to want the lifesaving machine after her own son John fell victim to Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) in 2004, aged 39.

She believes he may also have had Aarskog-Scott Syndrome, the same inherited condition as his nephew Brendan.

Christine said: “Statistics show that 12 young people a week die from sudden death. Many were involved in energetic activities including football, so it is so important to get aid quickly.

“Brendan is one of two in the under ten young Dons with heart problems, so I think it’s very important to have a defibrillator in place.”

Christine is in touch with the SADS UK charity to find out how much the defibrillator and training will cost, but believes it will be £700 to £800.

She is also planning a number of fundraising events to reach the total.

She said: “This idea to do this has been buzzing around in my head for a little while, so I asked the Dons if they would like a defibrillator and they thought it was a great idea.

“Brendan is a fantastic little footballer, so it’s nice to see him play, but there’s always the worry that the stress and excitement could cause a problem so it’s important to have one of these machines on hand as it can mean the difference between life and death.

“When we’ve got one for the football club, I want to get one for Brendan’s school, Weston St Mary’s.

“Ideally I would like to see them in all the schools.”

The idea has been welcomed by the Young Dons.

Secretary Kerry Castle said: “It is a fantastic idea and we will do anything we can to help raise the money to buy a defibrillator which could then be available to the community as well.

“It is one of those things you hope you never need but if you do – and it can happen to anyone at any time – it can save a life.”