A GRIEVING mother whose athlete daughter died young from an undiagnosed heart condition is taking on a running challenge to help avoid unnecessary deaths. The sponsored race is to support her bid to change safeguarding protocols and increase access to screening in order diagnose young sports people for heart conditions early. Hilary’s daughter Clarissa died last year just short of her 21st birthday in May, the day after Coronation Day, despite being highly active and fit as a member of Tavistock Athletic Club. Hilary is taking on a running challenge - the Paris Half Marathon on Sunday, March 3, in Clarissa’s memory.

Hilary, of Lamerton and London, is now lobbying on behalf of the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) and using her professional contacts. She is a former investment banker, teacher, London Mayoral campaigner and Centre for Social Justice poverty think tank worker.

She set up a gofundme page seeking sponsorship to run the race: “I’d like people to help me raise £7,000 for one day’s cardiac screening by Cardiac Risk in the Young - that’s 100 young people, one of whom may discover they have a life-threatening heart condition which can be treated and save their life. Clarissa lived her life to the full. She loved running, keeping fit, hockey and grooving on the dance floor, much to the amusement of her friends. But she had an undiagnosed heart condition which nobody suspected, least of all herself. The first she knew of it was when she had a sudden cardiac arrest while hiking in the South of France and tragically she couldn’t be revived.”

Hilary will be running with Clarissa’s cousin, Izzy, in March. Paris was chosen because Clarissa enjoyed running there where she lived during her languages year abroad from Cambridge University. Hilary added: “Running and lobbying and doing this challenge is helping channel my grief. I did my first half marathon just over a year ago and thought that would be my last. We will do our best to make Clarissa proud and hope that her fiery spirit will spur us on through the inevitable pain. I’d like help with supporting this cause which will help to avert a similar tragedy to ours and which has affected hundreds of people touched by the loss of a young life just as it was blossoming.”

To sponsor Hilary visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/run-for-clarissa. Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) aims to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research; and to support affected families. CRY funds fast-track services at the CRY Centre for Inherited Cardiovascular Conditions and Sports Cardiology and the CRY Centre for Cardiac Pathology.