Hale couple Mario and Debbie Dubois have received the Points of Light award from the Prime Minister for their ‘1000 Hearts for Harry’ campaign – a heart-screening programme for local young people.
Mario and Debbie worked with Cardiac Risk in the Young to set up the screening drive after their 17-year-old symptomless son Harry passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2014.
The aim of the campaign is to scan 1,000 young local people yearly and so far £100,000 has been raised to cover the costs of the screening days, meaning that 2,000 people have had scans.
In a personal letter to the couple, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I was deeply moved to hear about the work you are doing with ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’ following the devastating loss of your son Harry. I wish you every success as you continue your fantastic ‘1000 Hearts for Harry’ project.”
The Points of Light award recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
Mario and Debbie said: “Winning this award came as a huge surprise and we are so incredibly honoured to have been chosen for the work we have done in Harry’s name.
“We were shocked to learn that Harry was one of 12 young people who die every week from young sudden cardiac death, that’s the equivalent of 20 classrooms of young people – every single year.
“Aside from the statistics we were also incredibly shocked at how little awareness there was of this risk, but also encouraged at what could be done to make a difference to enable those numbers to change.
“To raise the funds to provide these screenings requires enormous support from our family, friends and colleagues and our wonderful supporters who have come up with all manner of inventive fundraising schemes, including swimming, running, baking, cycling, musical nights, fashion shows, and even playing cricket matches, all with the aim of making that target achievable.
“Receiving this award has further inspired us in our fundraising efforts; enabling young people to have access to those vital free heart screenings is Harry’s lasting legacy.”
Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West said: “I was privileged to meet Mario and Debbie Dubois; their campaign to ensure the early detection of heart conditions in young people, inspired by the life of their son Harry, will have saved countless lives. They are truly inspirational.”