Stowmarket Striders Running Club are backing the fundraising efforts of My WiSH Charity’sEvery Heart Matters appeal.
And they are hoping their weekly Summer Trail Runs will act as a boost to the campaign which is aiming to raise £500,000 to completea new cardiac centreat the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.
They take place every Wednesday evening over a five to six mile course and take in countryside that you would not normally see and often feature up to 150 runners.
Members usually run in small groups with a donation of £2 being made towards the charity.
The idea to raise money for the appeal came from Mike Munson, pictured above, who has suffered a series of heart problems over the years which culminated in a double heart bypass in February at St George’s Hospital, in Tooting, and co-ordinates the Trail Runs.
The 65-year-old, who lives in The Grove, Stowmarket, said: “It’s incredibly important to have the unit at the West Suffolk as it is so awkward getting to other hospitals on public transport. For me I can walk out from where I live and just get on a bus to Bury.”
He is now waiting to carry out his rehab course following his operation and told of his history of heart issues.
“At about 50 I was running a 10km when I noticed an amazing loss of energy which made me walk/jog slowly to the finish. I had to be driven home as I was exhausted and was diagnosed as atrial fibulation (AF).
“In 2007 the West Suffolk Hospital referred me to Papworth and I had an ablation to clear the AF. This was not successful. I was put on medication but during runs often experienced dizziness and blackouts.
“Around 2014 I asked for a review and the West Suffolk gave me a 24 hour monitor during which I had a blackout and so spent three nights at the hospital under observation. I was put on beta blockers and warfarin.”
Then in June last year he entered the Stour Valley Marathon.
“I was running reasonably well but at 24 miles I collapsed. I got up and was accompanied over a couple of styles but at 25 miles I collapsed face down. I had a further seizure in the ambulance and another in Colchester A&E. By the time my wife got to hospital I was in an induced coma and apparently not looking very well.
“I was sent to Basildon Cardiac Centre for an MRI scan and then for a defibrillatorto be fitted, which all seemed to go really well, and on returning home I went through the cardiac rehab process in Stowmarket with the NHS rehab team. I decided I wanted to help the appeal as it made sense to get as much done locally as possible as I remember the difficulty getting to Papworth when I was not allowed to drive.
“I was doing a 20 mile walk in Surrey, in February, when I collapsed and the defibrillator kicked in. I was taken to the Royal Surrey Hospital, in Guildford, had an angiogram which showed a main artery and branch to be narrowing and so I had a double bypass at St Georges, Tooting on February 22.”
Sally Daniels, appeal manager said “Mike’s story really does show heart issues can affect anyone. He was a fit man who ran regularly so doesn’t fit the stereotypical mould of someone with heart disease”.
Atrial fibrillation affects around 7,500 people in west Suffolk with around 2480 being undiagnosed.
Sally said: “We have been working with our cardiac diagnostic team to raise awareness of atrial fibrillation to the community using a mobile ECG machine which measures the heart rate and pulse and highlights if someone is in danger of AF and needing to see their GP”.
The charity plan to hold more of these awareness sessions to highlight the issue to the public over the coming months.
It’s hoped over £1,000 can be raised for the appeal from the Trail Runs and anyone who wants to take part can turn up at the venues, between 6pm and 7.30pm, which can be accessed via the website at http://stowmarketstriders.org.uk/summer-trail-runs
The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state of the art cardiac suite that will provide quicker access to more treatments, but the £500,000 My WiSH Charity is hoping to raise will lead to the whole unit, which is currently fragmented on different floors, being brought together in one purpose-built centre.
If you want to support the Every Heart Matters appeal go to the websitewww.mywishcharity.co.uk and if you would like to donate to the appeal you can do so by going to: Justgiving.com/ehma or text EHMA17 £10 to 70070.