Call to help in the fight against heart disease

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AlexBeresford
Alex Beresford

Disease affects 200,000 people in Essex

The British Heart Foundation is calling on the people of Essex to help accelerate the fight against heart disease by joining, or starting, a community volunteer group in the local area.

Around 200,000 people across Essex are fighting a daily battle with heart and circulatory disease. Each year these devastating conditions claim the lives of more than 4,300 people alone.

There are currently four groups across the region in Basildon & Billericay, Chelmsford & South Woodham Ferrers, Colchester and Maldon. You could join one of these groups or get in touch with your local fundraising manager for more information about starting a new group in your local area.

Community volunteer groups are the face of the BHF in their local communities. From running fundraising events to supporting schools and local businesses and organising collections, they are a fantastic way to support the charity’s vital work.

Any time that you can give will be invaluable, because every pound raised from BHF community volunteer groups will help fund vital research and identify new treatments that could help save lives.

Alex Beresford, who lives in Chelmsford, is the grandson of the founder of Beresfords Estate Agents and currently runs the Chelmsford branch. Alex underwent heart surgery at the age of just 26. Before his heart condition he was a healthy, sporty person and had even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro.

Alex started to occasionally feel light headed and was getting heart palpitations. After various tests he was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve causing a third of the blood to leak back into his heart and an aneurysm was also found in his aortic root, which was like a time bomb waiting to go off.

Alex underwent life-saving surgery to remove the aneurysm and replace the bicuspid aortic valve. He was in intensive care for two days, but was home in just under a week. At first he could only walk a few feet but gradually did more and more. Incredibly, Alex was able to run the Brentwood Half Marathon for the BHF just a year later.

Kirsty Brzeczek, BHF Fundraising Manager for Essex, said: “It’s only thanks to BHF research that pioneering heart surgeries like these are able to take place, and with your support, we can save the lives of more people like Alex.

“Heart disease is heartless. Too many lives are lost in Essex each year, and we’re determined to do everything we can to protect more families from this devastation.

“By joining or starting a community volunteer group you can help us fund the research that’s so desperately needed to bring us closer to beating heart disease. Together we can save more lives, and it’s a fantastic way to meet new people and make a real difference in your community!”

BHF research has helped halve death rates from heart and circulatory disease over the past 50 years, but there is still a long way to go. Through the public’s generosity the BHF will fund half a billion pounds of new research by 2020

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