A heart attack survivor has cycled more than 2,000 miles from Burnley to Corfu to support the British Heart Foundation’s Raise Funds Your Way Campaign.
Former police officer John Wilson (55), from Burnley, was climbing England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, when he collapsed from a heart attack in 2012.
Determined not to be beaten, John took on the gruelling expedition in July, pedalling through France, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy and Greece to Corfu to help support the BHF’s new campaign which is calling on people across the UK to organise their own unique fundraising events and Raise Funds Your Way to help support life-saving research.
Taking BHF’s mascot “Artie Beat” along for the ride, John’s incredible 26-day journey will help to raise around £7,000 to help power new medical breakthroughs to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease.
John, who is now a full-time undergraduate studying for a BA (hons) Health and Applied Social Studies, said: “I was climbing Scafell Pike when suddenly my whole body seized up and I had pain in my chest and my left side.
“It was so frightening as it came completely out of the blue. Being a keen cyclist and quite a fit guy, I thought I was the least likely person to have a heart attack. But it can happen to anyone at any time.
“It happened 100m from the top and I was airlifted to hospital.
“It’s changed my life in a huge way.
“The BHF really helped me get through this time, that’s why I was determined to do something really different and give something back and show the world I wouldn’t be beaten yet.
“My wife, Shirley, thought I was barking mad cycling to Corfu, but she’s been a great inspiration to me along the way. You don’t have to bake cakes or run marathons to donate, you can do anything and make a real difference.”
Tina Bajec, Head of BHF’s Raise Funds Your Way, said: “John’s story is an inspiration to us all. To go through such a terrible ordeal and then take on such an amazing journey for the BHF is incredible.”
Around seven million people in the UK are fighting a daily battle with cardiovascular disease.
To donate and to watch John’s incredible journey visit www.burnleytredz.co.uk or https://www.justgiving.com/BTredz
Sign up online and order a free fund-raising pack at www.bhf.org.uk/yourway.