The family of a Wigton boy with a life-threatening heart defect have inspired a community first aid campaign.

Sam Murdock wasn't diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome until he

fell unconscious during a swimming lesson


Since Sam took ill, his family have been working to raise awareness, both of the heart condition and the importance of first aid skills.

They have inspired a community campaign in Wigton to ensure as many people as possible have basic CPR training - including how to use a defibrillator machine.

Now mum Helen has set up a charity, called KidsCardioJoules, to develop screening for congenital heart defects in babies.

She is currently raising funds to support their work - backed by a work colleague who is currently cycling across France.

Nurse Helen works at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary alongside head and neck surgeon Graham Putman.

He decided he wanted to support her fundraising through a 550-mile cycle from St Malo to the Dordogne - a lifetime ambition of his.

Graham has been joined by friend and retired GP Geoff Percival, and the pair set off yesterday. sun

The challenge also aims to raise awareness of Long QT and other hidden heart conditions.

Helen feels strongly that all newborn babies should be tested routinely for Long QT and other cardiac conditions.

This is set to be introduced in north Cumbria soon, but she wants to extend that to all hospitals nationally.

Her charity work also aims to ensure more people receive CPR training, and she has been working alongside local firefighters and first responders to do this.

She has set up an annual training day, to give people new skills and refresh existing ones.

Helen said this has been very well received locally since Sam first took ill at the swimming baths.

“I think because it happened in such a public place and everyone either saw it or heard about it, it really sent a shockwave through the community. Since then everyone has just rallied around,” she said.

“We’ve had so much support. That’s the kind of place Wigton is though. People want to help.”

Helen also hopes to set up a support group for parents of children with cardiac conditions. “There are a lot of us in Cumbria and can feel a bit isolated because we are so far from Newcastle,” she said.

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