Heart staff volunteer to aid African children

Maxine Lang (left) and Cath Tomlinson with one of the machines they could be using in Africa

Maxine Lang (left) and Cath Tomlinson with one of the machines they could be using in Africa

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Children in Africa at risk of a heart condition rarely seen in the western world are set to get help from two Blackpool cardiac staff members.

Maxine Lang and Cath Tomlinson are cardiac physiologists at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, where they carry out echocardiograph scans on patients, and have been selected to visit Cape Town in South Africa to test school children for rheumatic heart disease.

They will work as volunteers for a week as part of the Echo in Africa project, which aims to scan 2,000 secondary school children in low socio-economic communities for the chronic disease in eight weeks.

The project will give the students, many of whom live in shacks, early diagnosis and necessary aftercare through the Tygerberg Hospital.

Maxine said: “This is our chance to really make a difference and give something extra to a community that is in need.

“The conditions these young people live in is heart wrenching.

“The project is a research project but it will also provide care to people who are found to have the heart problems.

“We are particularly looking in to rheumatic heart disease which is incredibly rare in this country.

“It is only really found in old people; so for young people to be suffering from it is really unheard of in our society.”

Cath said: “It’s a chance for us to learn about a condition we don’t really come in to contact with here.”

To support their trip, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com and search either Maxine Lang or Cath Tomlinson.

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