This is Helen

In mid-2012, not long after her 21st birthday, Helen began regularly collapsing, completely out of the blue. It seemed inexplicable, as Helen had always led a healthy lifestyle and had been given a clean bill of health as a child and teenager.

Helen was referred to Royal Brompton Hospital where she was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition, known as Atrial Septal Defect – or, in layman’s terms, a hole in the heart measuring 15x4mm. What followed was a series of regular check-ups and scans, but as Helen’s condition deteriorated, cardiologists deemed surgery the only way to go. In early 2015, Helen underwent open heart surgery to repair two holes and a leaky valve, at the tender age of 23.

Helen will need follow-up care for the rest of her life. But while others may, quite understandably, shy away from intense physical activity after such a frightening experience, Helen has done the complete opposite.

In April 2016, amazingly just a year and three months after undergoing open heart surgery, Helen ran the London Marathon for the Charity to raise £4,501 towards a new Echocardiogram machine, like the one that helped in her diagnosis.

“I was just beaming with pride the whole day and was having so much fun I didn't worry about my heart once. My entire recovery has been leading up to the marathon! Running to raise money for the charity is what kept me motivated through surgery even when I couldn't walk, I kept thinking about the fact that one day, I would be well enough to be able to run again for the hospital, which is the reason I am still here in the first place. I was, and still am, so proud to represent Royal Brompton!”

“I am one of thousands of patients who would not be here without the Brompton. Because of this hospital, I have been able to live a full and active life knowing that I am safe in the hands of one of the most skilled and specialist hospitals in the country.”