What the London Marathon means to me

What the London Marathon means to me

Wow what an amazing couple of weeks HEART UK have had! 

On 28 April we were very lucky to have 26 Virgin London Marathon Runners who completed the course successfully. It’s such an incredibly positive day, with so much good being done, not least of which over 40,000 runners achieve their goal to run the London marathon but the amount of funds raised for a large number of charities, which has a huge impact on thousands of lives of individuals and their families. I absolutely love this day, it is one of my favourite days in the annual calendar. 

The day starts early, but I am always excited, so can’t sleep anyway.  I arrive at our cheer point, usually around the halfway stage, around 9am. The atmosphere builds and I join in calling out lots of support for all the runners. I certainly get over excited when I see one of our runners, in fact so much so I actually lost my voice completely the following day, which the HEART UK team found hilarious.  I am in awe of all our runners. They all have such great stories, a couple of examples; Gordon Birrell completed his 5th London Marathon for HEART UK and, to be honest, always looks like he has just popped to the shops when he has completed the 26 miles! Helen Walden had a great story of tenacity, her father had always wanted to run the London Marathon but sadly died. Helen took some of his ashes with her on her run, when she became particularly fatigued she said to her dad that he would need to take over from there as she was struggling, shortly afterwards she heard a piece of music that was special to them, which gave her the strength to carry onto the finish.  Amazing, but all the runners are incredible and I could continue with these stories. I would like to say a huge thank you to all our runners for the effort they put into this and to all their families supporting them to do so. A huge thank you also for the large amount of funds raised, which will enable us to continue to have an impact on cracking cholesterol and keeping the pressure on to find all the unidentified familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH - inherited high cholesterol) patients and ensure their families are also tested and are optimally treated.

We are working hard to support the NHS and Public Health England to deliver their ambition of increasing the 7% FH cases identified to 25% by 2024. We are in the process of reviewing our FH Toolkit, which contains tools to assist health care professionals diagnosing FH patients. We aim to include a range of new tools which will help ease the process. Our initial focus will be on introducing tools, particularly for primary care.

The Government are producing a green paper on health prevention and at a recent meeting with a Minister, HEART UK were invited to contribute. We held a round table discussion this week with some key people to help us formulate that contribution. This will be an important step in order to keep cardiovascular prevention on the national agenda and hopefully as a priority. We continue to champion to have one place for FH data, this will help existing and future generations to come and will also save money for the NHS. 

We are also championing for the UK National Screening Committee (NSC), who set our national screening programmes, to adopt child-parent screening for FH. The NSC initially turned this down, HEART UK appealed and they agreed to review the position. This consultation is due out in the next few weeks and we beavering away getting ready for this. 

There is so much more going on, but I will leave it there for now and will continue in my next blog. 

However, before I sign off I wonder if I may ask you to help raise awareness of the dangers of cholesterol and in particular FH? There are a range of ways you can do this, if you use social media (facebook, twitter, Instagram, linked-in) please follow us and share our posts, you could consider becoming an Ambassador, or of course fundraise which also helps raise awareness.

Please do take a look at our website on our getting involved page.


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