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"It rocked our family to the core"

3 minute read
"It rocked our family to the core"

Published by Carol Musgrave at 6:00am 7th September 2019.

A Fleet man who suffered a devastating loss is undertaking a huge charity challenge from today to raise awareness of undiagnosed heart conditions in young people.

Chris Brember is taking part in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain, cycling over nine days from Land's End to John O' Groats, finishing on September 15.

His brother Rich died unexpectedly last year, aged just 32, after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Chris told Eagle there was no immediate explanation for it - and it came as a huge shock to the family:

"It rocked our family to the core.

"Rich was a very fit and healthy young man with his whole life ahead of him...it seemed incomprehensible that the knock on the door would come, and that it would for Rich."

Chris said there was no immediate explanation for the cause of his death, and the uncertainty meant Chris and his family had to have various tests to find out if they had a similar problem.

Chris was informed by his doctor that he was not allowed to exercise in case he had the same complication - but after  further CT and MRI scans, and an angiogram he was given the all-clear:

"I was struggling to deal with my grief at the time, but then to lose one of the only outlets I had to manage my grief - exercise - made it even harder. 

"Rich was not only my brother, but he was my best friend. We shared a lot of common interests and lived together in our own flat for a number of years when both of us played for Bracknell RFC."

Chris was eventually able to take up exercise again, and has since taken part in multiple long-distance cyle rides, including the Isle of Wight Randonee (100km) in May, cycling 200 miles in the Cotswold's in just two days, and partaking in the 50 mile Sam's Ride on behalf of the Samaritans. 

He and his family have set up a memorial fund in Richard's name, to raise money for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

They hope this will allow CRY to put on three screening sessions at each of the rugby clubs that Rich played for.

Chris said: "What I am aiming to do with the ride is to raise further funds to provide more screening sessions and help raise awareness of the work that CRY do. 

"Every week in the UK around 12 young people die of an undiagnosed heart condition - many fit, healthy and active individuals with no awareness that anything is wrong meaning there is no opportunity to intervene sooner. 

"Cardiac screening for the young is not currently funded by the government and my family and I would love to one day see the possibility of a publicly funded screening programme."

Chris Brember