Helen presents Dr Shore with chequeInspiring patient who received life-saving surgery at Royal Brompton Hospital meets with her surgeon to say thank you and present him with a cheque after running the London Marathon

In August, Helen Doyle met with the surgeon who saved her life. Not only was she able to say thank you to Professor Darryl Shore in person, she was also able to present him with a cheque on behalf of the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospitals Charity for £5,000, which she raised running in the London Marathon, just a year after undergoing open heart surgery.

When she was 21, Helen suddenly began collapsing for no apparent reason and despite a clean bill of health throughout her childhood and teenage years. In mid-2012, Helen was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect known as Atrial Septal Defect – in layman’s terms, a hole in her heart, measuring approximately 15mm long and 4mm wide.

Helen was admitted to Royal Brompton Hospital, and after a series of tests and examinations that showed her condition was worsening, doctors decided that she needed open-heart surgery.

The operation proved a great success, but Helen will need regular treatment and check-ups at the Royal Brompton for the rest of her life.

To show her gratitude, Helen ran in this year’s London Marathon to raise money for the Royal Brompton & Harefield Hospital’s Charity, which raises money to buy vital equipment and amenities that the NHS is unable to fund.

Helen said of the emotional meeting with Dr Shore:

I was so excited to see him and to be able to tell him all the things I've achieved since my operation. The last time I saw him was in hospital and I was struggling to move and speak, and now a year and a half later (with a marathon under my belt), I feel better than I have ever before. Because of him, I have been able to live life to the full, without worry and with an entirely new perspective. I'm grateful to this hospital every day, and feel like if I can get through open heart surgery then I can do anything!

Now a star fundraiser, Helen already has plans to take part in next year’s marathon.