HUNDREDS of young people have had their hearts tested for defects in memory of a Kingsmead man who died when he was just 23.

Aaron Dixon had an inherited condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, which neither he nor his family knew anything about.

Since losing the former Weaverham High School and Mid Cheshire College student in 2011 his family, including mum Deborah, dad Gary and sister Hollie, have been determined to do everything they can to prevent other families suffering the same loss.

They work with the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) to fundraise for and run free screening days for young people aged between 14 and 35.

The latest sessions took place at The Grange School, in Hartford, and saw 227 young people tested, added to the 500 others they have screened since Aaron's death.

"It's sort of bittersweet really because we didn't really know anything about it and would have had Aaron screened if we had," said Deborah.

"Aaron was really fit and healthy – he went to the gym and played football.

"But, if there is a defect, the more they exercise the more it stimulates the heart and it makes it worse.

"It's sickening really that you encourage your children to be healthy and unknowingly it's killing them."

As the condition is genetic, Aaron's sister Hollie has to be screened every year.

"She could go on to develop the same defect in her heart," Deborah said.

"If it's picked up she can be helped – it could be a pacemaker or a defibrillator inserted into her body that she would have to have for life but there are things that can be done."

Screening, which is free to patients, costs CRY £35 per person, with the two days at The Grange costing more than £7,900, but Deborah said it is worth every penny.

"When you have an ECG with CRY they read it completely differently to a GP," she said.

"There are people who have lost their children who have been to a GP for an ECG and it's not been picked up because they've not seen a trained cardiologist.

"That's why I would always urge people to come to the screenings."

Deborah is hoping to win funding from Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire East Council to put on more screening days across Cheshire and is also keen to hear from anyone who can help raise money towards the towards the testing.

For more information email Deborah on or search for Brothers In Arms on Facebook.