02/01/2023

Wales News Online

Local & National News for Wales

Peak Performance from Cardiac Staff in Epic Fundraiser for Heart Charity

A team of heart health staff from across south Wales are celebrating after raising over £3,300 during an epic challenge across Britain. The four friends work in the Cardiac Catheter Theatres at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff and chose to support the British Heart Foundation to stay positive and motivated after what they say has been a difficult time for charities and health workers due to the covid pandemic.

Elizabeth Sim, 45, from Bridgend said, “I have been working in the Cardiac Cath Lab at the University Hospital of Wales for almost two years now. Since losing my partner over 5 years ago, I challenge myself once a year to a challenge that I can push myself and also raise funds for charity. So, when I picked the National Three Peaks Challenge and the girls asked could they join me I was absolutely thrilled.

“Charities have struggled during covid, so it was important to us to help the charity that matters to us the most. We work in Cardiac services and see the effect heart disease has on both patients and their families. We are very aware of the support that BHF gives to these families alongside the furthering research that goes on behind the scenes. So supporting BHF was an easy choice for us.

“The excitement of the challenge has kept us motivated, fit and healthy through covid, when it would be extremely easy to lose motivation and do nothing. Taking to the hills for a hike after a tough day in work has been my saving grace, and it’s something I will continue to do now the challenge is completed.”

The friends climbed Snowdonia, Scarfell Pike and Ben Nevis in under 24 hours, enduring extremes of heat at the outset and playing in snow at the peak of Ben Nevis. Reflecting on the group’s inspirational fundraising endeavour, Elizabeth is emotional, “Where to begin,” she says. “The challenge was amazing, yet it was made incredibly hard due to the glorious weather that we had. The heat and Ben Nevis combined made for a tough last day, but grit and determination pushed us through.

“We became closer as a team over the weekend, encouraging and pushing each other on, the biggest help for us was our family, friends, colleagues and patients who have all sent messages of love and support. Reading those messages and seeing the donations increase, just gave us a huge lift. We read them out loud between mountains and they were a huge part of what got us through.

“We have made memories for a lifetime, we raised over our target and we haven’t stopped smiling since. The challenge was 10 months in the planning, but it was absolutely worth it. I am so grateful to the girls for agreeing to join me and so proud of what they achieved.

“For me it’s time to plan my next challenge and hopefully continue to raise money for charity. Especially in a time where it’s been increasingly difficult for charities due to covid restrictions and very little events going ahead.”

Sarah Lloyd, 30, is originally from Swansea and moved to Pontypridd when she started working in Cardiff four and a half years ago. She said, “During this difficult time I wanted to set myself a challenge to keep myself focused and to motivate myself to train during lockdown.

“Working in Cardiology, we see the effects Cardiac disease has on patients and their families on a daily basis so raising money for the BHF was a no brainier. The BHF does amazing work furthering research into cardiac and circulatory diseases, supporting patients, providing information and so much more.”

Chloe Sargent, 23, from Caerphilly has worked at UHW for two and a half years. “I wanted to set myself a challenge and something to motivate me throughout lockdown,” she said, “We have been working as key workers throughout this pandemic which has meant that additional pressure and stress has been added onto an already stressful job.

“The excitement of this challenge has kept us motivated. It has also encouraged me to be more physically active and start walking in my free time to help prepare me for the peaks. The BHF carries out amazing work in supporting people and conducting research into Cardiac disease. Working in Cardiology has allowed me to see the positive impact their work has on patients. Therefore, we have chosen to raise awareness and money for the BHF whilst we complete this challenge.”

Katy Jones, 23 is originally from Port Talbot but moved to Cardiff last year. “I’ve been working in UHW for around 18 months, Katy says, “My reasoning for wanting to complete this challenge was to have a focus and something to work towards throughout lockdown, and to also make memories with my friends outside of the working environment which has been stressful and tiring throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As a group, we were all in agreement to raise money for the BHF as we are all cardiology-based professionals, so we see first-hand the effects coronary disease has on our patients and their families. The BHF carries out incredible research into help tackle and prevent this disease and providing support and information to our patients throughout their pathway through cardiology.”

The team’s efforts come at a critical time for the BHF – the largest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory diseases in Wales and the UK. The last year has been the hardest in the charity’s 60-year history. The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on its income and as a result, research funding had to be cut in half, putting future life-saving discoveries at risk.

Heart and circulatory diseases cause one in four of all deaths in Wales, around 9,300 deaths each year – an average of 26 people each day, and around 340,000 people are living with heart and circulatory disease in Wales.

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Elizabeth and the team for choosing to fundraise for us after a very challenging time for everyone involved in health care. Our research to help save and improve lives is only made possible thanks to our inspirational supporters like them. We need the public’s support now more than ever as the BHF reaches its 60th anniversary this month.

“Cutting research funding will impact the development of new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating heart and circulatory diseases and we cannot allow the progress we have made over the last 60 years to slow down. We’re so grateful to the team for fundraising for us in our 60th year and for helping us beat heartbreak forever.”

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For further information contact Rachel MacManus Communications and Engagement Manager for BHF Cymru at macmanus@bhf.org.uk or tel: 07977 271 568

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