I feel extremely honoured to have been chosen as one of your finalists for the Volunteer of the Year Award, in memory of my precious son Aaron.
I set up The Aaron James Dixon Memorial Fund after losing my only son Aaron suddenly to an undetected heart defect. Aaron was 23 and extremely fit and healthy. My life has been devastated, no Mother should have to bury her child but I knew I had to do something in order to keep Aaron’s memory alive and to survive the journey of child loss.
I was directed to the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young by the Coroner. On contacting CRY I was shocked to learn between 12- 16 young people were losing their lives every single week to an undetected heart defect, 80% with no prior symptoms. More shocking was that a simple ECG could prevent these loss of lives. This was when I made the decision to set up The Aaron James Dixon Memorial Fund, which is ringfenced within the charity CRY.
My aim was to raise money to provide Free Heart Screening for young adults aged 14-35. Each Screening Day costs £5,000.00 where 100 young adults are screened.
To date with the help of family, friends and Aaron’s friends we have raised just over £316,000.00. This money has so far funded 33 Screening Days, screening 3,378 young adults. 115 of those screened have been referred with abnormalities, one of those a young lady from Cheshire, received her heart transplant in February 2018.
The Free Heart Screening was initially for young people in Cheshire where I live, but due to there being such a huge response to the Screening Days I am now Screening Nationwide . I will continue to raise money to fund free heart screenings until such time as a National Screening Programme is introduced. In 2018 I made the decision to fund the Screening of elite athletes with the English Institute of Sport with funding I had received from The JD Foundation, to date 606 athletes have been screened in Aaron’s memory.
If I were to win my category it would help to raise people’s awareness of young sudden cardiac deaths and give greater focus on the challenges of raising funds to continue this important work.
I am looking forward to meeting all the other inspirational ladies and hearing their stories.