Angela's infancy began with several difficulties. Born in 1974, Angela's doctors discovered a cardiac abnormality that hindered her blood flow. Angela was immediately sent to Harefield Hospital for open heart surgery. 

Angela was born with a rare life-threatening condition called Transposition of the Great Arteries. “The blood was going to my lungs after it had been around my body, so I was blue,” she said. Transposition of the Great Arteries is a cardiac birth abnormality in which the two main arteries transporting blood away from the heart, the main pulmonary artery, and the aorta, are swapped in position, or "transposed."

Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of Angela's heart-breaking journey, at nine weeks old Angela’s health began to decline. There was an NHS strike further intensifying an already challenging situation. The hospital wanted to provide Angela with the best opportunity to fight for her life. Angela underwent her second open-heart surgery within a span of nine weeks, performed by Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, which proved to be lifesaving. (Right image credit: Daily Express, 11/07/1974)

I was absolutely fine until 2002

Angela's health started deteriorating again in 2002. "My consultant mentioned that I would require a pacemaker, sooner or later," she said. Pacemakers are often implanted beneath the skin on the left side of the chest, near the collarbone. Angela was unable to have the pacemaker inserted underneath her collarbone due to a blockage. She explained: "They had to position it in my abdomen."

In 2012, Angela underwent another surgery to replace her pacemaker, which was later relaced in September 2020. In 2019 Angela also underwent surgery to give her an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) that sends an energy shock that resets an abnormal heartbeat back to normal.

However, Angela's procedure was postponed in 2020, leaving her with a non-functional pacemaker for several months. As a result, Angela had both a defibrillator and a pacemaker inside her, although the pacemaker was not operational. She also received an ablation in January 2019 on her husband’s birthday.

I ended up getting an ambulance to the Royal Melbourne Hospital whilst on holiday

In March this year Angela’s Latitude ICD monitor, which is designed to collect information from a patient’s implanted device, captured an abnormality through Royal Brompton’s monitors. Angela referred to it as: “A marvellous piece of technology.”

I just feel I'm forever in their debt, for what they have done for me

“Even during Covid-19, with limited face to face appointments, the hospital made a tremendous effort to get me seen by a doctor,” Angela said. In-between all this Angela decided to volunteer for hospital radio, which she described as “a great experience.” Over the years Angela has been involved in fundraising to assist Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals in delivering exceptional care to numerous heart and lung patients. “I just feel extremely lucky, and I wanted to give back and do everything that I can do,” Angela explained.

I'm still smiling and still standing

Angela experienced a terrible scenario in the early weeks of her life. However, her positive outlook has persisted, and she holds deep gratitude towards Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals. This appreciation is seen through her extensive charitable efforts aimed at assisting critically ill patients at Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals.

In 2016, Angela started taking part in the yearly Fun Run at Harefield Hospital. She characterised the event as "full of energy and incredibly positive." Angela took part in the Fun Run for three consecutive years. Unfortunately, due to health concerns, she will not be running this time, but she hopes to attend the festivities which she describes as "just a lovely experience."

Angela is currently waiting on a right heart catheter to check the pressure in her heart and is waiting for the optimum time to be placed onto the transplant waiting list as she would need “a transplant for either HF or if my Tricuspid Valve Regurgitation gets worse.” “People can have a replacement or valve repair, but because of my anatomy, the whole heart will have to be replaced,” Angela explained.

She hopes to see Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, 49 years after he saved her life, at the Fun Run this year to: "Say hello and thank you for saving my life."

If you would like to help critically ill Royal Brompton and Harefield patients, then please join us at our 40th Fun Run by clicking the link below