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Erith School pupils receive heart screenings in memory of Shane Holland

PUBLISHED: 16:13 23 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:04 23 November 2017

Shane Holland

Shane Holland

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Family and friends of the 25-year-old who passed away last year have raised £20,350

More than 100 students at Erith School have received free heart screenings thanks to fundraising efforts by the family and friends of a former pupil who passed away following a heart attack last year.

The event was held in memory of Shane Holland, who lived in Slade Green and died at the age of 25 on December 21 2016 after suffering a heart attack on his way to work.

Yesterday saw Shane’s family and friends return to his former school, where screenings to identify young people at risk of heart problems were offered to Year 11 and post-16 students by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young. Juliet Lamin, mother of Philip Lamin, a 16-year-old pupil at Bexleyheath Academy who died from a cardiac arrest while playing football in February 2013, was also at the event.

A total of 110 pupils received screenings, three of whom were referred for further medical follow-up by a cardiologist.

John Holland, Shane’s uncle, said that the day had been emotional, but that he was pleased at the turnout and that other young people were now more aware of the potential risk of having an undiagnosed heart condition. “Even if it’s one person who had undiagnosed issues, that’s a result,” he said.

Reflecting on Shane’s sudden death, he said: “You really don’t expect someone in your family who is younger than you to pass away before you.”

The screenings were funded by a football match organised by Daniel Medlen, a close friend of Shane’s who was also a pupil at Erith School, which took place in May this year. Having set an initial fundraising target of £5,000 - enough to cover the cost of 100 screenings - the match raised £20,350, more than four times its original target.

Medlen told Bexley Times that the fact that a small number of pupils have been referred for follow-up showed the importance of young people receiving heart screenings: “You can see clearly from today’s outcome that a few results needed investigating further. For the sake of a painless test which only takes a few minutes, you could ultimately save young people’s lives.”

Shane’s family and friends will put the money raised towards two more years’ worth of screening iniatives at Erith School. They hope to hold another football match or black tie event in the next 18 months in order to fund screenings on an annual basis.

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