THE work that Debbie Dixon has done to help save lives of young people in Cheshire really can’t be underestimated.

Having tragically lost her 23-year-old son Aaron in 2013 to the genetic heart defect Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy, Debbie set up a memorial fund in his name to help a charity which aims to reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death.

Since 2014, the former Kingsmead resident’s fundraising efforts have paid for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) screening programmes that can detect heart defects in young people.

Screening costs £5,000 a day and in the four years since the Aaron Dixon Memorial Fund was set up, it has funded screening of 2,500 young people over 25 days, resulting in the detection of heart conditions in 91 individuals.

One such person was 22-year-old Northwich cardiomyopathy patient Charlotte Carney who underwent a heart transplant earlier this year.

Which is why the 57-year-old is a truly deserving recipient of the latest Northwich Mayor’s Citizen of the Month award.

Debbie, who now lives in Clotton, Tarporley with her husband Gary who nominated her for the award, said: “I wanted to keep Aaron’s memory alive and that is why I set up a memorial fund within CRY.

"All the money I raise is used to fund screening days as I want to help save young people. No parents should have to go through the loss of their child.

“As parents we bring children into this world and our job is to love and protect them. I couldn’t protect Aaron from something I knew nothing about and that is why I am driven to try and save as many young people as I possibly can.”

Screenings are available to anyone between the age of 14 and 35. After booking an appointment online, candidates fill out a medical questionnaire and are then invited for a screening where they will undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG).

"If anything untoward is detected Debbie will pay for a follow up echocardiogram to take place on the same day, effectively fast tracking the person through the treatment system.

She explained: “My worry is that after an ECG it can take months to get booked in for an echocardiogram and get treated and vital time can be lost in getting treatment.”

Debbie, who recently became a grandmother for the first time after daughter Hollie gave birth to Otis Aaron, wants as many people as possible to take advantage of the screening opportunities.

She has already lined up nine screenings for next year, from April onwards, and has eight booked for 2020.

She explained: “The “My life will never be the same again, but I want to raise awareness and help other families not have to go through the same as ours have gone through.”

Northwich mayor Cllr Alison Gerrard said: “On reading Debbie’s heartfelt story, I think that she is definitely a very worthy winner of this award.

“The work that she is doing is very important in highlighting underlying heart conditions and saving lives.”

Debbie joins four previous winners of the mayor’s award, launched in the summer in partnership with Brio Leisure and the Guardian.

Brio is awarding each winner a month-long premier membership.

Brio marketing director Elly McFahn added: “As a Community Interest Company, we’re committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our residents across west Cheshire, and so sponsoring the Mayor’s Good Citizen Award was a perfect match for Brio.”

If you know of a community hero who deserves recognition for making a positive difference to Northwich, let us know by nominating them.

Send their name, contact details, and reasons for nomination to or call 01606 813621.