Niamh and Beth help charity close to DSU's heart

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Two budding creative designers have been using their skills to raise awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS) for a charity close to De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU)’s heart.

Niamh Beange and Beth Russell, both aged 19, are taking a graphics and e-media foundation degree at Leicester College and De Montfort University (DMU). They are the creative force behind GO18FORJOE, a new campaign from local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT).

Joe was a victim of SADS, a condition which can strike anyone at any time, particularly seemingly fit and healthy young people. Twelve young people aged 12-35 in Britain die each week from undiagnosed heart problems like SADS.

Since Joe’s death, his family and friends have campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and try to reduce the instances of this silent killer.  They set up a local charity, the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), who work closely with DSU on a number of charitable and volunteering projects, and it is the Trust which has launched GO18FORJOE.

Beth Russell (left) and Niamh Beange (right) with the GO18FORJOE selfie board they designed for the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust.

Niamh said: “We found out about the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust through our course – there was a chance to get work experience with the charity while completing our coursework. We thought it was a great opportunity.

“As we learned more about the JHMT, its aims really resonated with us. It’s a charity that does so much for young people, allowing them to reach their potential whilst keeping them safe, by making them aware of this lethal condition which affects our age group. It’s a cause that many young people do not know enough about. We’re glad to be a part of changing that.”

Beth added: “We have designed the campaigns logo and look for GO18FORJOE including leaflets, a ‘selfie board’ that people can have their photo taken with, sponsorship forms and a header photo which people can use to show their support for the campaign by posting on their social media profile. Many of these materials are included in the GO18FORJOE kit available to download on JHMT’s website.

“I hope the work we’ve done will help more people – especially young people – to be inspired by the work of the Trust so that they join the campaign and GO18FORJOE.”

Chair of the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, Steve Humphries, said: “The idea behind GO18FORJOE is to invite Joe’s many friends from his school year, his family and Trust supporters – along with anyone who wants to get involved – to take on a personal challenge, anytime from now until April 2017.

“We’re asking people to do something involving the number 18, with plenty of license to be creative. Maybe you’ll run or walk 18 miles for Joe, cycle 18 miles, or play nine-a-side-football.

“You could play 18 overs of cricket or 18 holes of crazy golf, or swim 18 lengths of a pool.

“Or maybe you’ll choose to sing 18 songs at a charity concert, get together as a group of 18 to hold a fundraising bake sale, or simply choose to learn CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

“You can then tweet us using the hashtag #GO18FORJOE and let us know what you’re doing to raise awareness, funds, or how you’re going to pledge support for our campaign.

“So many young people like our Joe are denied the right to celebrate their 18th, due to undiagnosed heart conditions like SADS.

“This is a chance for everyone to get motivated, creative and active and do something positive to help save young heartbeats”.

To find out more about the JHMT, click here. You can also find the Trust on Facebook and Twitter.

And to find out more about volunteering at DSU, click here.

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