If she wasn't there, I wouldn’t be here today

The last thing anyone anticipates is experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest at 5:00 AM. As my wife prepared for her day and had breakfast, I was seated at my desk. Typically, I would have already taken out her car from the garage for her to drive to work. However, when she approached the front door, she noticed her car was still in the garage. Wondering why I hadn't taken it out, she came in, only to find me in the midst of a cardiac arrest at my desk, in front of my computer.

Within moments, three ambulances arrived, and emergency responders administered CPR. Despite their efforts, it seemed hopeless - I was effectively dead. They rushed me to the local hospital, where I ended up in intensive care or a similar unit. I had been down for over an hour. The medical team informed my wife that survival seemed unlikely. However, after about an hour of relentless attempts to resuscitate me, there was a breakthrough. Miraculously, my heart started beating again.

Eventually, they managed to revive me, but the prognosis remained grim. They informed my wife that I was likely to suffer from brain damage. It must have been a day or two later when they transferred me from the highly intensive care unit to another area. Slowly, I began to regain consciousness, but the heavy medication left me disoriented, with no recollection of what had transpired. My memory of the preceding events was completely wiped away.

I received immediate resuscitation and care until I reached a point where I could be transferred to Royal Brompton. I stayed there for approximately two or three days. During my time at the Brompton, an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) was fitted. After a couple of days, I was then sent back to the hospital in Stevenage to undergo further recovery from the operation.

A year ago, I was the second fastest marathon runner in the country in my age group

I was diagnosed with ARVC, a genetic defect causing the demise of muscle cells in my ventricle wall. I was told more exercise could diminish my life expectancy, stripping away the very passion that once fuelled my life.

The focus of my entire life was running. I am a 53-years-old master’s athlete and have maintained a consistent routine of running approximately 90 miles a week without fail for the past 25 years. In 2022, I achieved the third position in the Masters World Championships Marathon held in London. Now the activities that once defined my existence are slipping away, even something as simple as running for the bus is off-limits.

This life change caught me extremely off guard, effecting not only my physical health but also mentally. Even a year later, I continue to struggle with the drastic changes.

Fortunately, my memory loss was limited to the past week, and the extent of brain damage was minimal. When I eventually returned to work, I faced the challenge of not being able to recall the projects I was involved in. As a self-employed individual, this situation posed quite a challenge.

Cardiac issues impact people of all ages. Researchers like Royal Brompton's Dr. Sabiha Gati are investigating ways to detect and treat life threatening cardiac conditions. Dr. Gati's research focuses on enhancing the detection and prevention of heart diseases in young people, aiming to save lives through early intervention. By encouraging more young people to undergo testing, we can proactively prevent sudden cardiac death and ultimately save lives. 

Your support can make a meaningful difference in advancing our understanding and prevention of cardiac issues!

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