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Ever since he took up competitive swimming aged nine, Aron Preece has been the epitome of a fit and healthy young man.
Now 19, his slim but powerful frame is testament to the thousands of hours he has spent ploughing up and down the pool doing the sport he loves.
Months - Aron - Heart - Condition - WPW
But just over 18 months ago, Aron was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition: Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, an electrical fault that causes the heart to beat too fast. It is caused by an extra 'wire' of tissue between the top two chambers and the lower pumping chambers of the heart, which can set up a circuit of rapid electrical activity.
Symptoms include palpitations, fainting and chest pain but without these it can remain undetected, as in Aron's case. Aron's condition could have remained hidden had his parents, Kerry and Richard, not taken him and his sister to a free heart screening held at his swimming club in June two years ago.
Aron - Anya - Swimmer - People - Problems
Aron and Anya, then 14 and also a talented swimmer, were tested with around 200 other young people. 'We never thought they would find any problems,' says Kerry, 52, from Shrewsbury, who works for the local authority. 'As it was free, it seemed sensible to do.'
When the consultant told Kerry that Aron had a problem with his heart, she broke down. 'I couldn't believe that Aron, who was so fit, had this,' she says.
Screening - Cardiac - Risk - Young - CRY
The screening was organised by Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), a charity that seeks to identify hidden heart conditions in those aged 14 to 35. Since 1995, the charity has screened more than 185,000 young people, with 30,000 screened last year alone.
The screening Aron attended was funded by money raised in memory of Matthew Dewhirst, another sports-mad Shropshire youngster. In 2012, Matthew, 17, collapsed and died on...
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