The 25th anniversary year of Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) has got off to a joyous start with the announcement of a 12-month partnership with the award-winning Sunrise Radio.
The news comes as the MD of Sunrise Radio, Tony Lit MBE is officially unveiled as a new Ambassador for CRY. Lit, a highly respected figure in the media industry and a well-known political campaigner for communities and social justice – first approached CRY following the sudden death of the only son of a family friend from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. He was aged just 17 and was a fit and sporty young man, with his death sending shockwaves throughout his local community and beyond. As a father of 3, Tony was deeply moved by this tragedy and pledged, “whatever support Sunrise Radio and I can give personally, over and above, I shall do so.”
The partnership will initially run for 12 months and comprise of spot advertising, community messaging, interviews and testimonials with CRY’s medical and policy experts and families affected by young sudden cardiac death. Strategic social media posts and video content posted on the Sunrise Radio YouTube Channel which also enhance the campaign.
On-air promotions are also planned to support major events such as CRY’s annual “Heart of London Bridges Walk” and a forthcoming concert to be held at the Hammersmith Apollo on 16th February.
The event is organised by acclaimed singer-song writer Arjun [Coomaraswamy], in memory of his wife, Natasha, who tragically died from a sudden cardiac arrest in September 2018, aged just 30.
Sunrise Radio has a strong heritage of pioneering charitable campaigns and collaborations and last year was awarded the Cancer Research UK (CRUK) Flame of Hope Award for Media Supporter of the Year 2019 in recognition of its commitment to raising awareness of Cancer Research UK’s positive work amongst the British Asian community.
Tony Lit comments, “The responsibility of running an iconic radio service like Sunrise Radio goes far
beyond selling commercials and programming airtime for me and my team. Sunrise is now in its 31st year of broadcasting to the South Asian community and over the years it has become much more than a source for entertainment but is also relied upon for important community messages, news and information. It’s absolutely vital that we do our bit in society and support charitable organisations like CRY. There can be nothing worse than losing a young life needlessly in our country in this day and age. That’s why awareness campaigns like this are so important as we work together with CRY to save young lives and invoke real change in communities across the United Kingdom.”
Every week, 12 apparently fit and healthy young (aged 35 and under) people in the UK die suddenly from an undiagnosed heart defect. In 80% of these cases, there will have been no signs or symptoms until it is too late, which is why CRY believes proactive, heart screening is so vitally important (particularly for those involved in regular, physical activity). CRY now tests around 32,000 young people each year, aged between 14 and 35 and well over 200,000 since the screening programme was launched in 1995.
Most of CRY’s screenings take place in community settings (schools, colleges and sports clubs) across the UK. Two Saturdays in every month, CRY are also offering free screening to 100 young people (age 14-35) at CRY’s National Screening Centre at St George’s, Tooting (South London). CRY’s screening programme is overseen by Consultant Cardiologist Professor Sanjay Sharma – one of the world’s leading experts in inherited heart condition and sports cardiology.
Dr Steven Cox, CRY’s Chief Executive, adds, “We are thrilled to be working with Tony and the team at Sunrise Radio on this unique media collaboration, which will see CRY, for the first time, reaching out specifically to the British Asian audience with our key messages and future plans.
“Young sudden cardiac death is indiscriminate – it takes young people, at the prime of their lives from every community and ethnic background across the UK. It is our duty – more so than ever in our 25th year – to ensure we have a strong voice in the British Asian community and to spread our messages widely about the importance of cardiac screening, research and bereavement support. “Tony’s generosity and vision is allowing us to do just this and we are all extremely grateful for his support – as well as excited by the potential of this partnership.
“This year will also see a renewed focus on adding signatures to our successful #MPsupport4CRY campaign as we continue to challenge the Government’s recent decision not to recommend cardiac screening in young people. We are hopeful that’s Tony’s in-depth political knowledge and contacts will help us to achieve even greater engagement with MPs.”