Friday, 6 July 2018

British Heart Foundation

'Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it'

Proverbs 4:23 

Our local school community is currently reeling from the sudden loss of a father to a heart attack. There are 7 million people living with cardiovascular disease in the UK. The mission of the British Heart Foundation is to win the fight against cardiovascular disease and their vision is a world in which people do not die prematurely or suffer from cardiovascular disease.

Karen, Lyndsey and I have spent many hours walking together - often in extreme weather conditions. Both of these friends support the British Heart Foundation because of their friends Sharon and Alexander.


Karen's friend Sharon died at just 38 years old leaving her husband, Neil to raise two very young children. Neil writes:

'We lost Sharon in May 2013 from Sarcoidosis of the heart. Before she passed we weren’t aware of what she had but we were constantly at the hospital for tests to determine the problem. Sarcoidosis is something that can affect organs but usually affects the lungs. My best understanding is that it is very rare (a handful of cases in the UK) to have sarcoidosis only in the heart and the only way to determine if you have it would be through a biopsy of the heart which itself brings many risks and would only be found if the biopsy took the part which was affected. Sharon’s heart would often beat too quickly and had a pacemaker fitted which would reduce this. British Heart Foundation are the biggest funder of cardiovascular research in the UK and any money raised could support much needed lifesaving research.'


Alexander Lang was born on the 4th January 2016. He had his first open heart surgery when he was just one week old and spent the first 6 months of his life in between Ocean Ward and PICU at Southampton Hospital. Lyndsey writes:

'Alexander is now two years old, and has just gone through further surgery. Watching your dear friends look after a poorly child is difficult, and you feel totally useless not being able to do anything to ease their worries and concerns. A simple cough or cold could be fatal, so often the family are isolated to keep Alexander away from harmful germs. I don’t think they have had a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep in two years.

I have been very lucky that my husband (James Lapthorn), niece (Katie Rivers) and close friend (Claire Nunn’s) little boy have all had life saving heart operations and are now very well looked after by the various hospitals they attend. My uncle died when he was a child as he had a hole in the heart. This could now be repaired with today’s advancement in surgical procedures and early detection at the routine 20 week pregnancy scan. Before the BHF existed, the majority of babies born in the UK with a heart defect did not survive to their first birthday. Today, thanks to research, around eight out of ten survive to adulthood.

Your money helps to fund hundreds of top scientists all over the UK, including the work of BHF Professor Shoumo Bhattacharya, whose team is investigating the genetics behind why some babies are born with heart problems, with the ultimate aim of preventing them altogether.'

If you would like to support the British Heart Foundation as part of the Fortycubed challenge please do so via this link. The BHF spend 76p of every £1 raised on life saving research and support for heart patients.

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