Day 178- Abby, 17, Dundee

Abby is Head Girl at Harris Academy in Dundee and studies Advanced Highers in Chemistry, Biology and Music. As part of her Scottish Baccalaureate in Science qualification, Abby has been raising awareness of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD), actively encouraging Members of Parliament to sign the Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) MP pledge to establish a National Strategy for the Prevention of YSCD in the UK. Among the MPs she has met to back the national charity’s pledge are UK Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn and Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster Leader. Abby has organised fund-raising events for CRY heart screenings and discussed the feasibility of cardiac testing in secondary schools with Scottish Health Minister, Shona Robison. Abby works in a doctor’s surgery as an Office Junior and plans to study Medicine or Biomedicine at the University of Dundee in September.

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Which young Scot inspires you?
I am inspired by the courage and dedication of all Scottish young carers. This demanding role requires maturity and understanding beyond their years. Often, we forget to acknowledge the sacrifices they make to provide others with a quality of life. I helped care for my late grandmother who lived with my family after she was diagnosed with motor neurone disease, so I relate to their stories.

What is the best thing about growing up in Scotland?
The best thing about growing up in Scotland is having the “right to roam” throughout our beautiful countryside. I was fortunate as a child to have lived between Lochaber in the Highlands and the rural village of Longforgan, outside Dundee. I have fond memories of climbing Ben Nevis and picnicking on the Silver Sands at Morar. It is important to have full access to Scotland’s great outdoors.

What would you most like people from older generations to know about young people?
I would like older generations to know that today’s young people are carving out a new society which is far removed from days gone by. We cannot be compared to previous norms, as Bob Dylan sang, “The Times They Are A Changin’.”  It is important for each generation to make its mark on the world.

What is your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement to date is being nominated and accepted to deliver the Time for Reflection speech at the Scottish Parliament on the topic of young sudden cardiac death. I am proud of this opportunity as contributors are mainly adults. It is fitting to address parliament on this subject in the Year of Young People.

What would you most like to achieve in the future?
In the future, I would like to achieve success with my campaigning to help establish a National Strategy for the Prevention of Young Sudden Cardiac Death. This has the potential to save young lives in Scotland and throughout the UK. I am raising awareness of national charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), which is encouraging Members of Parliament to support this initiative. 

What message would you like to give to other young people in Scotland?
The message I would like to give young people in Scotland is to not only seize opportunities, but also actively seek them. Not everything is handed to you on a plate. I was delighted to be selected as a member of the Sunday Mail Young Scot Awards 2018 Delivery Panel which will organise this year’s event. The application for this exciting position was self-sourced.

If Abby’s story has inspired you, why not share it on social media using the hashtag #MyStory365 or visit the ‘Get Involved’ section to share your own story!

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