Celebrating Life – MI +5

If you have read my blog before you will know that, at the age of 38, I suffered a myocardial infarction (MI, better known as a heart attack).  It was caused by a combination of bad habits – a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, smoking and a general lack of exercise.  That was five years ago and I have come along way since that hospital bed in Scotland, completely turning my life around by taking up cycling and running.

I don’t want anybody to have to go through what I did on the fateful day in April 2011.  Through my involvement with the Ordnance Survey #GetOutside Campaign, I’ve been sharing my story to encourage others to become active, whilst offering hope and inspiration to other heart failure patients that there is a future after such life changing events.

To mark the 5th anniversary of my MI and raise awareness of Heart Failure I’ve set myself a few challenges for April and May: –

#ChampionsWearOrange

I’ll be in my bright orange OS GetOutside kit for all four rides, do please say hello if you see me!

The main event is London to Paris, I leave Greenwich at 4pm on Saturday 30th and need to arrive at the Eiffel Tower before 4pm on the Sunday (70 miles to Newhaven for the four hour night ferry crossing to Dieppe and then 120 miles to Paris).

Paris

Whilst awareness of Heart Disease/Failure and getting people more active is my main driving force, I would like to raise much needed funds for Pumping Marvellous, a heart charity that represents the needs of nearly one million heart failure patients and just as importantly the patients families, at the same time.

If you would like to help the fight against heart failure – 20% of the adult population in the UK will be touched by heart failure and heart disease at sometime in their life – please donate to Pumping Marvellous by visiting my Just Giving page www.justgiving.com/coeurcycliste

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Donating to a random charity instead of buying a cup of coffee

You may have heard of the expression “Pay it Forward” or a “Suspended Coffee” in cafes and coffee shops.  If not, pay it forward is a random act of kindness by buying the drink for the person in the queue behind you as well as your own and a suspended coffee is where you pay for an additional drink in advance for someone in need, i.e. a homeless person can ask if there are any suspended coffees, the coffee shop will then give them the drink you paid for earlier.

As I travel a lot with work I often stop at motorway services for a coffee, usually a medium latte. That’s approximately 250 calories, before you consider the fat content in the milk and then there’s the caffeine, it’s not good for me!

I need to stop/reduce this additional coffee intake, so I’m taking this principle of a random act of kindness and changing it slightly – instead of buying someone a drink, I’m going to donate the money I would have spent on a cup of coffee to a charity (£2.50 a week) and drink a glass of water instead.

I normally support the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and have raised £1700 for them by cycling over the years .  I could have just chosen the BHF for this donation and setup a monthly direct debit for £10 each month. However, I want to highlight all the smaller less known charities, ideally heart related, that make a major difference to peoples lives on a significantly smaller budgets.  Therefore, each month I’m going to search for “justgiving cycling heart” or “justgiving running heart” on Twitter and select a tweet at random to give my coffee money to.

My first supporter is Lee Popplewell who is raising money for the Heartbeat of Sport charity, after his brother Paul tweeted the following: –

PaulPopplewell

Considering this was the first tweet in the search results I’m amazed at the similarity to my history – below is an extract from Lee’s story from his JustGiving page: –

After having a Heart Attack while out running at age 37 in October 2012 I became involved with this amazing charity running my first half marathon for them a year later in October 2013.

 I am doing a challenge a month to push myself and to raise money for my chosen charity which is Heart Beat of Sport. 

I don’t want anything in return for this, but perhaps you could “Pay It Forward” and donate your coffee money to either this charity or another smaller charity.  If you do it would be good to know, so please tweet me (@coeurcycliste) to say you have with the name of the charity, supporter and hashtag #DonateYourCoffee

Perhaps the simple action of you sharing this post on Facebook and Twitter will benefit a local charity close to your heart or one of your followers hearts?

Go on click those buttons at the bottom and let’s help those smaller charities raise some much needed funds…  it’s two simple clicks that could make the difference to someone’s life!