MyMarathon kicked off on Sunday and I am looking forward to getting started on my first leg (once I get over this nasty virus!)
Over the years of volunteering over at the National Heart Foundation, I have met some incredible people with heart-aching yet inspiring stories along the way.
These two women, Michelle Hampton and Ellie Bayliss are just two of them and today I’d like to share with you their stories, as they are the perfect example that cardiovascular disease can strike anyone, of any age.
Michelle and Ellie are true fighters, who although have hit the lowest of lows, are using their health experiences to raise awareness and help make a difference. It’s so incredibly special that our individual health battles have bought us together and I am so excited to be tackling MyMarathon with them both!
In December 2016, Michelle (37) discovered she had a hole the size of a ten-cent piece between the two chambers of her heart. With minor and common symptoms such as breathlessness, dizziness and a few heart palpitations Michelle simply thought she was feeling stressed and rundown. After taking herself to hospital and after series of tests, specialists explained that Michelle would suffer from heart failure by the age of 45 and irreversible damage within a few months if she didn’t act. As a result, Michelle had to endure something that no one in their 30’s would ever expect to experience – open heart surgery. Michelle’s story is remarkable and less that 12 months after her surgery, she is taking on the MyMarathon challenge to raise funds and awareness of congential heart disease, with the hope of improving early detection.
This time last year, Ellie (27) suffered a cardiac arrest. Ellie left work, walked to Redfern train station in Sydney and was standing on the platform, when without warning her heart stopped beating. Through sheer luck, an off duty paramedic and a life guard were standing nearby and together, with a third bystander, they performed emergency CPR on her until an ambulance arrived. At the hospital, Ellie was placed into an induced coma for three days which was followed by a long road to recovery. She now has a device under her skin near her rib cage that will provide a shock to her heart if it fails again. Coming up to one year since her cardiac arrest, Ellie, who could barely walk to the end of the driveway will also be walking MyMarathon this month!
Images courtesy of Magnum & Co.