This week is a story from Rachel Davis of the British Heart Foundation.  An inspiration for us all.

Charlie and mapCharlie and mapTen years ago, Stroud resident Charlie Pierce collapsed at work – as a fit and healthy 39 year old, this came as a shock, not only to Charlie and his workmates, but also to his wife and two sons.

When Charlie got to hospital, an even bigger shock was to follow – his aorta (main artery from the heart) had burst and he could have died from internal bleeding.

Charlie received lifesaving surgery immediately and ten years later, Charlie and his wife Hellen walked 50 miles of the Wysis Way through Gloucestershire, to celebrate Charlie turning 50, and to raise money for British Heart Foundation (BHF) who funded the surgeon  (Professor Taylor) who saved Charlie’s life 10 years ago.

After Charlie’s lifesaving operation, it was discovered that he had a congenital heart defect – Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy – which affects one in every 500 people in the UK. Since Charlie’s diagnosis, his two sons have also been screened for the condition.

Charlie says: “Since my illness, I have tried to repay the debt I feel I owe to Charlie PierceProfessor Taylor, his surgical team and the BHF, through talks, monthly donations from my salary and other fund-raising and awareness activities.
Now, ten years after my recovery and on the cusp of my 50th birthday, accompanied by my wife, Hellen, I have walked home from Monmouth to Stroud, along the Wysis Way – a journey of 50 miles. Charlie Pierce

It will be 50 at 50 and, with your help, I’m hoping to raise £50 per mile. “

Charlie’s walk started in Monmouth on 27th June and saw him pass through the Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Painswick and Stroud before he returned to his Brimscombe home for his birthday celebrations.

The weather was wet and humid, and on the first day, Charlie and Hellen didn’t finish walking until 9.45pm. They made it back to Sapperton (their finishing point) at 6pm on the 2nd day – two long days of walking, but Charlie has raised over £2500 for British Heart Foundation. Quite an incredible feat from someone Charlie at Painswick Beaconwho very nearly died before they turned 40.

Charlie at Painswick BeaconCharlie’s fundraising page can be found at http://www.justgiving.com/CP-50at50

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