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Kent cricketers support event to raise awareness of undiagnosed heart conditions

Calum Haggett in action for Kent
Calum Haggett, here in action for Kent, is just one of many players supporting the event
©REUTERS / Action Images

Former and current Kent cricketers will be taking part in a charity event next month (10th September) at Eltham College which will raise funds and awareness about undiagnosed heart conditions.

The family fun day will be hosted by Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and the Ben Daniels Memorial Fund (BDMF) and Kent's Calum Haggett and Ivan Thomas, who have been affected by sudden heart conditions, will be involved.

Haggett was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition in 2010 during a routine screening and after successful treatment is now back playing the game.

Where? Eltham College, Grove Park Rd, London SE9

When? Saturday 10th September, from 10am

Team line-ups (may be subject to change

Kent XI: Daniel Bell-Drummond, Tammy Beaumont, Joe Denly, Alex Blake, Darren Stevens, Sam Billings, Calum Haggett, James Tredwell, Mitch Claydon, David Griffiths, Ivan Thomas

Invitational XI: Rob Key, Simon Jones, Geraint Jones, Steve Harmison, Ben Harmison, Kate Cross, Joe Leach, Luis Reece, Ben Slater, Invitational spot, Auction spot

Tragically, however, one of Thomas' university friends and team-mate Tom Hardman passed away in his sleep from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2012 at the age of just 21.

The pair were approached by Paul Daniels, whose son Ben died of an undiagnosed heart condition in March 2011, the 15-year-old dying while playing football. He was also a talented cricketer who turned out for Old Elthamians Cricket Club (OECC).

It is an alarming statistic that every week 12 'apparently' fit and healthy young people aged 35 and under in the UK die from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. In some 80 per cent of cases, there will have been no symptoms which is why CRY believe pro-active screenings are vitally important and they now test 23,000 young people every year.

While sport itself is not a cause of young sudden cardiac death it can exacerbate an underlying condition that has not previously been identified.

On the day, the teams taking each other on will feature former Kent and England batsman Rob Key, who is a CRY patron, while Calum and Ivan will be joined by Kent team-mates and England internationals Sam Billings and James Tredwell.

The free event will also feature stalls, refreshments, a beer tent and a post-match dinner at Eltham College where there will be a sports memoribilia auction and celebrity speakers.

The Ben Daniels Memorial Fund has raised almost £150,000 to support CRY and screening and as a result of Paul's efforts, around 1,500 young people in the local area have been tested in the last five years, in memory of Ben. That figure is set to increase with numbers of screenings funded by BDMF in collaboration with sports clubs across Kent and the South East.

"Cricket was such an important part of Ben’s life, it feels so fitting for us as a family to be joining forces with CRY and Kent County Cricket Club to stage this event in his memory," Paul said.

"It’s only by working together with schools and sporting groups in our area that we can really spread the word about CRY and its ongoing mission to prevent these tragic - and often preventable - deaths in young people.

"The support we have from businesses, schools, organisations and individuals is phenomenal and helps us to create a special tribute to Ben. I know he would be proud of everything we are achieving."

Guy Sanderson, Headmaster at Eltham College, added: "We are delighted to be working alongside OECC, Kent County Cricket Club and CRY on this event and are all committed to doing everything we can to help raise awareness of the importance of cardiac screening in young people - as well as raising vital funds for the charity.

"We have a great network of parents, pupils and links to our local community, so I’m confident that by hosting this exciting event we can play a part in helping increase awareness by reaching out to other young people across the area as well as the wider cricketing community."

CRY have close links with the cricketing world through their patrons Key, Sir Ian Botham and Joe Root as well as regularly carrying out screenings at counties.

Dr Steve Cox, CRY chief executive said: "Paul’s fundraising support and ongoing awareness work for CRY has been absolutely tremendous and his efforts have helped to fund the screening of hundreds of local people through Ben’s Fund.

"We have just marked CRY’s 20th anniversary and the ongoing support, dedication and commitment of our families over the past two decades has been astounding.

"It is wonderful to see Paul working closely with others supporters who have got right behind our cause.

"On behalf of CRY, I would like to thank everyone who is taking part and we really hope everyone has a great day!"

© Cricket World 2016