A message from Trudie Lobban MBE,
founder and CEO of STARS
I cannot begin to tell you how delighted I am to be able to celebrate the 20th birthday of STARS with you all.
I never imagined when in 1993 I was asked by Prof John Stephenson to establish a small patient group how far things would come.
When I started out all those years ago my aim was to help as many people as possible by ensuring they or their loved one gained access to the advice, diagnosis and treatment they needed. I did not want anyone to have to go through what my family and many others had while searching for a correct diagnosis – in my case for my young daughter.
As I came into contact with more of you and my knowledge began to grow it became apparent I had only scratched the surface of a much wider issue and that understanding and awareness of heart rhythm disorders lagged way behind at every level.
This had led to a situation where many thousands of people in the UK were in a state of misinformation and despair because they or a loved one had an unexplained or misdiagnosed condition. I instantly knew I had to try and make a difference.
As a result, STARS became far more than just a support group. We have worked in the last two decades, with a greatdeal of success, to try and address this situation and grown from strength to strength on the back of it.
We still have a very long way to go and our goals remain the same – as does our determination to reach them. We therefore continue to raise awareness of unexplained loss of consciousness and strive to ensure anyone affected receives the correct diagnosis, appropriate treatment and signposting to an appropriate medical professional.
It would be wrong for me to take all of the credit for the successes we have had over the last 20 years.
As STARS has grown I have become more and more dependent on my wonderful team to help me and I could nothave done it without them. The many volunteers, staff and one person you have all come into contact with – Jenni Cozon. Jenni was with me when my daughter experienced her first unexplained loss of consciousness and now works full time for STARS with all the passion and commitment I could wish for.
I also owe a big thank you to all of the medical professionals who have supported us over the years in countless ways and who have gone out of their way to provide their expertise at every opportunity. Again too many to mention however if it was not for Prof John Stephenson who recognised the need for an organisation and the continued support of the Chair of STARS Medical Advisory Committee, Dr Adam Fitzpatrick, we would simply not have been able to offer what we have.
However, by far the biggest thank you goes to you. Each and every one of you we have come into contact with over the years – whether it is to explain a disorder, signpost to an expert, or simply offer a shoulder to cry on when things get too much – you continue to provide our inspiration and motivation every day. And it has made me immensely proud to see how many of you haven take up the banner for STARS yourselves, by fundraising or spreading the word about conditions which we all know can sometimes be debilitating both physically and mentally.
So now is a time to rightly look back and acknowledge what we have achieved together.
But more importantly, it is a time to take the opportunity to strengthen our resolve and continue to do more of the great work we have achieved together.
So please continue to support and help us with the same enthusiasm you have in the last 20 years.
Trudie Lobban MBE
Founder & CEO STARS
Professor John Stephenson, Founder Patron, STARS
"This really is an amazing landmark for STARS.
When I met with Trudie 20 years ago and suggested she start a small support group for families facing difficulties similar to those she was experiencing with her own daughter, I never would have guessed that we would be where we are now.
Trudie never wanted others to face the confusion and fear she had and as she discovered more about the issues surrounding these disorders – in particular the lack of awareness – and the cause quickly became her vocation.
The energy and enthusiasm with which she pursued the understanding of heart rhythm disorders is truly inspiring and telling of the very honest motivation for the brilliant work she and the team at STARS do.
What began so modestly has grown from strength to strength into an organisation which has helped a great number of people over the last 20 years and is now at the forefront of raising awareness of such disorders on an international scale.
She and her team should be incredibly proud, just as I am to be associated with her and with such a wonderful organisation.
I am delighted to be able to wish STARS a very happy 20th birthday."
Sir Roger Moore, KBE, Patron, STARS
“A very happy 20th birthday to STARS.
This year is an important milestone for me as well. It’s ten years since I collapsed on a Broadway stage in the middle of a performance after a dangerous heart rhythm problem caused me to blackout.
Long may the excellent work they do in helping people and raising awareness continue.”