Bereaved mum campaigns to save lives

Call to screen young athletes

Yolanda McVilly with a photograph of her daughter Emma.

THE mother of a Colac district teenager who died from an undetected heart condition is campaigning to screen young athletes for the condition.

Yolanda McVilly’s 17-year-old daughter Emma died in 2008 while warming up for a netball grand final at Warrnambool.

Mrs McVilly said her daughter, a star Simpson netballer, had suffered from sudden cardiac death syndrome.

Emma McVilly in action with Simpson.

The syndrome, along with sudden arrhythmic death syndrome, involves a group of heart conditions in young people, particularly people involved in high-energy sports.

Mrs McVilly said she wanted to raise awareness about SCD to stop other young people dying from the condition.

“We’re really behind in Australia because in countries like the UK, the US and Italy there’s a lot of screening and awareness campaigns, especially for their athletes, but in Australia not many people are even aware of it,” Mrs McVilly said.

“Unfortunately in Australia the government hasn’t done much about it, so it has taken people who have lost a child to actually push the message,” she said.

“There’s a lot that can be done to help prevent it, there’s heart screenings that the government could do for young athletes and they could put defibrillators in all clubrooms and throughout the community.

“A defibrillator may not have helped Emma but it could definitely help others and give them the best chance of survival.”

Mrs McVilly said Colac and district residents had thrown their support behind her family.

“When Emma died people found it hard to understand, we didn’t know what it was either, so we’ve all learnt a lot,” she said.

“For Emma’s friends and family, she’s always in our thoughts, that’ll never change.

“We just want people to know more about SCD and for the government to do something so that it doesn’t happen to other people.”




2 Responses to “Bereaved mum campaigns to save lives”

  1. Jill Masurkun

    Sending all my love to the McVilly family following the loss of their beautiful and talented daughter,Emma. Full of admiration for Mrs McVilly for trying to do so many positive things to prevent the loss of other young lives – 10 each week in Australia and for rasing awareness of cardiac risk in young people.Screening is the key.