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Merthyr fundraisers in epic challenge to help ailing hearts

A group of fundraising friends from Merthyr Tydfil have raised over £2,600 for the British Heart Foundation by taking on a remarkable 50km walking challenge over the Chiltern Hills.

Joanne Smith, branch manager of Santander in Merthyr was joined by her sister Megan Ellis and friends Caryl Hopkins and Joan Tamlyn, completing the event in an impressive 11 hours.

They walked the looped route which covers the picturesque Chilterns countryside, with historic trails, rolling hills, nature reserves, and fantastic views.

Colleagues at Joanne’s branch supported the group’s fundraising efforts, along with teams at Sainsburys, NHS staff members and John Weaver Construction. Fundraising took place in the form of collections, cake sales and online donations.

Joanne said, “The four of us challenged ourselves to walk 50km in 16 hours in memory of loved ones we have lost to heart conditions. A big thank you to Santander branch, Sainsburys, NHS Staff and John Weaver Construction for all your support in raising online donations and in store fundraising. Also thank you to Santander bank for match funding the total raised.”

Jayne Lewis, BHF Cymru fundraising manager, said: “I would like to thank Joanne and the team who took on the challenge and everyone who supported them raising vital funds for the British Heart Foundation’s Research. Heart and circulatory diseases kill one in four people in Wales, which is devastating for those they leave behind. BHF Cymru is funding pioneering research to help find preventions, treatments and cures for those people living with these conditions. Right now, people living with these conditions are being hit hardest by the pandemic. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on our research funding so it’s crucial we do everything possible to maintain our progress for those people who need us. Without this support, we can’t fund lifesaving breakthroughs for the 340,000 people in Wales living with heart and circulatory diseases.”

The statistics

The BHF estimates* there are 6,200 people living with heart and circulatory diseases in Merthyr Tydfil. This includes 2,200 patients with coronary heart disease, 1,400 with atrial fibrillation, 570 with heart failure, and 1,300 stroke and TIA (transient ischaemic attack) survivors. 10,000 people are living with high blood pressure and 3,900 have diabetes, both are risk factors in heart and circulatory conditions.

There’s still time to support the group’s fundraising efforts at https://www.justgiving.com/team/Girlswhowalk

*latest BHF estimates based on patient data in 2020

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