Beat SCAD, a UK charity that aims to support those who have been diagnosed with Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection, was launched on 7 November 2015. The launch took place during the first ever conference for UK SCAD survivors held at Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) is a rare and under-diagnosed heart condition that affects people with few or none of the normal risk factors for heart disease. SCAD occurs when a tear or bruise develops in a coronary artery and restricts or prevents blood flow in the heart. It cannot be predicted or prevented and the cause is unknown.
Many SCAD patients experience delayed diagnosis, a lack of information about the condition, as well as confusion and depression at being unable to get answers. Often patients know more about SCAD than the medical staff treating them.
Patients who met on social media sites have, over the past few years, supported each other, raised awareness of the condition and raised money for research. Beat SCAD aims to build on these patient-led initiatives. The charity’s mission is threefold:
- Raise awareness of SCAD among medical professionals and those who have had a SCAD diagnosis
- Provide support for SCAD patients as well as family, friends and caregivers
- Promote and raise funds for research.
Beat SCAD was established by SCAD survivors Rebecca Breslin (Chair), Karen Rockell (Secretary) and Debbie Oliver. Jackie Stopyra is Treasurer.
“When I had a heart attack caused by SCAD in March 2012 I was a fit and healthy 34-year-old. I had no concerns about my health, especially my heart. Nobody could tell me why my SCAD happened or if it would happen again. I was frightened and felt very isolated. I had survived but I was scared to live,” said Rebecca Breslin.
“I found other SCAD survivors through Facebook and our patient community has blossomed, providing critical support. We have achieved so much as an informal patient group and now we have our own charity we can continue our work with formal objectives as the Beat SCAD team.”
One of the patient group’s major achievements has been to work with the Leicester Biomedical Research Unit at Glenfield Hospital to create a research project into the causes of SCAD. Rebecca commented: “We have an amazing team of researchers in Leicester who are working hard to help us find the answers we desperately need, answers that will save lives. The strength and determination within our group is immense – together, we will beat SCAD.”
Pictured above (l to r) Jackie Stopyra (Treasurer), Karen Rockell (Secretary), Rebecca Breslin (Chair) and Debbie Oliver (Trustee).