PR students from Leeds Metropolitan University have launched a campaign try and raise awareness of SADS (sudden arrhythmic death syndrome.) which claims the lives of at least 12 apparently “fit and healthy” young people a wek in the U.K.
The students recently held a SADS awareness day at their university. The students set up an information stand at the Civic Quarter campus, where they spoke to students and handed out flyers with information about the condition.
To make their campaign stand out, the team decorated a glass window with multi-colour hearts to spell out the acronym SADS. The PR students were then able to interact directly with the students by asking people passing by to write the name of something or someone they loved in life and add it to the display.
Sudden cardiac death is a dramatic and spontaneous death that is thought to be (and usually is) caused by a heart condition. It is a rare and relatively unknown condition and usually shows no symptoms. It is only preventable when a person can be treated with the correct medication. SADS can be discovered with ECG tests and checks with a specialist cardiac doctor. Without referral from your GP, currently this is not an option at Leeds General Infirmary.
The PR students involved are part of the Students’ Union PR department which is run completely by student volunteers. The students are able to put the theory they have learnt into practice as well as building up their portfolios. Previous campaigns they have run include ‘Big Boys Should Cry’ in which they promoted their University’s counseling service with excellent success.
The SADS campaign began after PR students, Elizabeth Taylor , Adam Burns and Becky Knowles read about the story of 19 year-old student from Leeds, Tom Reid, who recently died of the condition. The article contained a statement from the parents who commented that they were going to fund raise in order to allow a number of young people in the area ot have the opportunity of an ECG tests, as it is not available on the NHS, without obvious symptoms.
Elizabeth Taylor, Students’ Union PR officer said: “We are extremely pleased with the reactions we have been getting from students. We have been able to inform many people who had never heard of SADS before, outlining the symptoms and what steps to take if you are worried. We have also been able to create an outstanding and bright piece of artwork which will hopefully allow our campaign to be more memorable.”
As most students are unaware of SADS, the PR students met with Antony and Halina Reid, Tom’s parents, to find out more. It was agreed that the students would use their PR skills to try and raise awareness of the condition amongst their peers. The awareness day was supported by Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) who provided literature and campaign posters for the students to use.
Halina Reid, Tom’s mum, added “We would like to thank the PR team for helping us to raise awareness of SADS, especially amongst young people. It means so much to us if we are able to help just one person.”
If you like to donate to the Tom Reid fund please click here.