An inspirational teenager is helping to save lives in the memory of his dad and uncle who tragically died within ten months of each other.
Harry Steel, from Wallsend, was just nine-years-old when he was hit with the devastating news that his uncle David had died of a sudden cardiac arrest.
And then less than a year later, Harry’s dad Stephen died of cancer just three weeks after his diagnosis leaving him and his family devastated.
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But instead of being consumed by his grief, Harry threw himself into fundraising and has raised thousands of pounds for charities including CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) over the years.
Now 15, Harry has continued to fundraise and managed to raise enough money for students at his school, Churchill Community College, to be screened for the symptoms of cardiac diseases.
His mum Lisa Steel, 49, said: “They are really important, screenings have been proven to save lives. We didn’t have any of this knowledge when my brother David passed away.
“We decided as a family we were going to try and get the message out there and try to stop other families going through what we went through.
“David was told by doctors it was down to panic attacks and anxiety but it was down to underlying heart problems. If he had a screening he may be alive today.
“David went to that school and Harry goes to that school so holding a screening is what David would have wanted.
“David would do anything to help people so it’s like we’re carrying on his legacy by helping people. I’m so proud of Harry.”
Harry has raised thousands of pounds for the charities close to his heart, including Cardiac Risk in the Young the Maggie’s Cancer Care Centre at the Freeman Hospital.
Previous fundraisers have seen brave Harry abseil down Middlesbrough’s Transporter Bridge, take a baked bean bath in Gateshead Metro station and scale London’s O2 Arena.
And in 2017, Harry was named Young Fundraiser of the Year in our Pride of the North East awards and was also honoured with a British Citizen Youth Award.
Although his mum is bursting with pride, she said Harry is “very humble”.
She said: “Harry doesn’t really talk about it because he doesn’t want to come across as big-headed. I’ve been trying to get through to him that what he’s doing is saving lives.
“But he’s very humble, he doesn’t think it’s a big deal.”
Lisa said Harry talks about his dad and uncle every day.
She said: “It was about trying to make something positive out of something that’s tragic. It doesn’t get any easier but we learn to live with this new kind of normal.
“Harry has good days and bad days, something can just trigger it. He thinks about what his dad would be doing now, what David would be doing now so it’s all ‘what ifs’.
“He talks about them every day without fail. He was getting upset because he said: ‘What happens if I forget them?’