Beat SCAD is, quite literally, a charity of the heart. The work of the charity is from the heart, and for the heart.

Beat SCAD co-founders Rebecca Breslin, Debbie Oliver and Karen Rockell first met via an online forum in 2012 after each had experienced an unexpected heart attack due to SCAD (in 2012, 2011 and 2010 respectively). Very little was known about SCAD at that time and each were told by their respective cardiologists that what happened to them was very rare and they were unlikely to meet another person who had experienced SCAD. Searches of medical literature brought little understanding of SCAD and heightened fears given that most case studies were fatalities with SCAD identified at autopsy.

Social media enabled SCAD survivors to find one another and share their stories. As the patient group grew, it became apparent that the majority of cardiologists around the world were giving incorrect information to SCAD patients – however, it was generally the information available to them via medical literature, as individual case studies and in the absence of any SCAD-specific guidelines.

A different cause of heart attacks

SCAD patients found themselves at risk of receiving inappropriate treatment and inaccurate advice because, in the setting of an acute coronary syndrome (ACS), healthcare professionals would apply the standard protocols of care for atherosclerotic heart disease (the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries) – but SCAD is a different cause of ACS, the blockage is not an atheroma (cholesterol-lipid-calcium plaque) but a bruise or a tear. It was essential for this to change to improve the outcomes for SCAD patients.

Beat SCAD launches

The Beat SCAD charity came to be as a result of the unmet needs, passion, and drive of the SCAD community who felt compelled to raise awareness and develop knowledge of SCAD, support each other and ultimately help to save lives. It was founded by Rebecca Breslin, Karen Rockell, Debbie Oliver and her sister Jackie Stopyra (pictured above).

Beat SCAD officially launched on 7 November 2015 when the charity held the first UK SCAD conference, bringing together the community of SCAD patients and families with Dr David Adlam and his research team from Glenfield Hospital, Leicester.

In 2018 Sarah Coombes and Harriet Mulvaney joined the Trustee Board. Jackie stepped down as a Trustee in 2017 after two years, Karen stepped down in 2021 after six years and Harriet stepped down in 2023 after five years.

Beat SCAD is run by a small team of trustees, all volunteers, and is dependent on the generosity of our supporters volunteering their time, skills, knowledge and enthusiasm to continue pushing forward with our mission