A Halloween fund raising campaign by staff at the convenience stores chain McColl’s helps fund vital research to prevent sudden cardiac deaths.

mccolls funding cheque jenny web

calendar-icon 11 January 2018

Cash raised at the shops across the UK has led to a donation of £200,000 to researchers at St George’s, University of London tackling sudden cardiac deaths in younger people.

Every week in the UK, 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die suddenly from undiagnosed heart conditions. In 80 per cent of cases, there are no previous signs or symptoms.

Former McColl’s Chairman James Lancaster and his wife Margaret, lost their son Robert to sudden cardiac death in 2007 when he was 21 years old. They have been instrumental in funding the research at St George’s to help prevent other families suffering in the same way and to expand medical  knowledge.

He and his wife visited the research team to present a cheque for the money raised by enthusiastic McColl’s staff at stores.

He said: “We have always said we are not interested in plaques on buildings but on expanding the knowledge in this area and we are very pleased with the progress we have seen.”

The donation is the latest example of the firm’s generous support to research in this crucial area at St George’s.

Dr Elijah Behr, who leads the research team, said: “The generous support has been fundamental to our efforts both financial and emotional. We are at the cutting edge and are creating new knowledge.

“We are making very significant progress and that is largely down to the support we have received from McColl’s staff’s great efforts.”

Researchers at St George's are developing novel approaches to diagnosis and treatment in this area including Dr Bode Ensam’s work to investigate the impact of the cardiac drug Ajmaline which is currently used in the ECG diagnosis of Brugada syndrome, an inherited condition that can lead to sudden cardiac death.

The Lancasters also had updates on work of Dr Yanushi Dullewe Wijeyeratne, a Cardiology Specialty Registrar and Clinical Research Fellow, who is studying how the electrical circuits in heart cells become abnormal, and Research Fellow Dr Chris Miles’s work to study the role of fibrosis in sudden death.