Ayrshire mother sets the challenge

Alice with mum Wendy.
Alice with mum Wendy.

A caring mother from Ayrshire has raised over £1,300 for the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) life saving research.

Wendy Spencer, 63, took on the 26.2-mile MyMarathon challenge to run a marathon over a month after her daughter Alice had to undergo open heart surgery six months ago.

It was during a routine health check-up that her daughter Alice discovered she had been living all her life with an undiagnosed congenital heart defect called atrial septal defect, where there is a hole in between the upper chambers of the heart.

Alice, 32, was living in New Zealand at the time, and because it had gone undetected for so long, she was now in the early stages of heart failure. After managing to get back to the UK, doctors at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank were able to repair the defect and Alice has made a full recovery.

Now, Wendy is calling on people across Ayrshire to take on the MyMarathon challenge this May to help fund ground-breaking research into fighting heart disease, who affects around 670,000 people across Scotland.

Wendy said: “Alice was so far from home, and I was away as well at the time, so I was so worried when she told me what happened. I was just in complete disbelief, she is so fit and healthy it just didn’t seem possible. But I knew I had to be strong for her, as I just wanted to get her back to the UK as soon as possible. It just shows, if it can happen to Alice, heart disease can affect anyone.

“Taking on MyMarathon was my way of turning the worry of all this into something positive. I’d encourage everyone to take on the challenge, because its great to be able to say you’ve run a marathon and the money you raise will help make a difference to so many people.”

Alice said: “To have something like this happen to you really makes you value your life. I didn’t have any symptoms. The doctors said because I keep so fit and active, I would be the kind of person who would have just collapsed out of the blue, which is a scary thought. But I’m so positive about everything, and I’m all fixed now so I’m so grateful to the doctors who spotted this and all the nurses, specialists and surgeons who helped me at the Golden Jubilee Hospital. They are extraordinary people, and so is my mum. I’m so proud of her for raising so much money for such a good cause.”

More than 30,000 people took part in MyMarathon last year, raising over £1million for the BHF.

You don’t need calves of steel or lungs of iron to run a marathon. With MyMarathon everyone can go the distance! Heart and circulatory disease affects around 7million people in the UK and is responsible for around 155,000 deaths each year –one person every three minutes.

Every pound raised from MyMarathon will help the BHF fulfil its ambition to fund half a billion pounds of new research in the next five years. To find out more or to sign up for free visit www.bhf.org.uk/mymarathon