A COUPLE whose seven-year-old son died suddenly from a heart condition have funded a vital new piece of kit which could prevent similar tragedies in the future.
Sally and Sean Dexter organise the annual Jimmy D Memorial Cup football tournament in tribute to son Jimmy (below), who collapsed from a hereditary heart condition in 2011.
They have since collected more than £26,000, a large slice of which has been used to fund the £6,000 electrocardiogram (ECG) machine at Sheffield Children's Hospital.
The Dexters’ fundraising efforts have now ensured that children will no longer to have to leave the hospital for their ECG tests.
Mum Sally (47) from Woodsetts said: “Sheffield Children's Hospital has helped us over the years to put our minds at ease over our two other sons, by running extensive tests on their hearts.
“At one of these appointments, I asked why they didn't have an ECG machine in the outpatients department.
“They said it would make a huge difference to patients, so we contacted The Children's Hospital Charity, who told us we could fundraise for the equipment.”
The new ECG allows medical staff to detect and treat any abnormal heart problems.
It works by checking the heart's rhythm and electrical activity.
Sensors are attached to the skin are used to detect the electrical signals from the heart each time it beats.
The equipment helped reassure the family that Jimmy’s younger brothers Joshua and Matthew were both healthy.
Dr Rupa Talekar, consultant paediatrician in cardiology at the children’s hospital, said: “Children who needed ECGs previously had to go to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
“For those children who are in a wheelchair, in pain or those whose carers have medical problems of their own, it can be difficult.
“The Dexter family have made a huge contribution to help our service.
“We are very grateful to them and thank them on behalf of the hospital trust and the children who will benefit from using the ECG.”
Funds from the Jimmy D Memorial Cup event, which also involves a sports auction, is shared equally between Sheffield Children's Hospital and the specialist Embrace transport service, which transferred Jimmy to Sheffield following his sudden collapse.
Jimmy’s Dad Sean (48) who has also taken on the London Marathon to raise funds, added: “We couldn’t have raised all this money without a wonderful set of people behind us and we would like to thank everyone who has helped us with the memorial cup and supported us in any way raising the money.”
Jessica Storer, head of fundraising at The Children’s Hospital Charity said: “The Dexter family have done so much to help make Sheffield Children’s Hospital even better for the thousands of patients who come from all over the world for our specialist care.
“To raise over £26,000 in Jimmy’s memory is an incredible achievement and we're really grateful for all of their support.”