Running with heart and soul

Posted on in Fundraising, Health improvement

Experienced nurse Jill Gristwood was convinced that she had just got a bout of heartburn or indigestion, but after five days of discomfort she went to see her GP, reasoning with him why it was not a heart attack.

Tim and Jill Gristwood hand over the £420 to ward 31 at The James Cook University Hospital

Three days later she was rushed into ward 31 at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough after the tests proved to the contrary.

For Jill and her husband Tim, who live in Middlesbrough, this was a very anxious time but the level of care and support they received while on the ward was ‘brilliant’.

Jill, who is 49 and currently improving at home, said: “They were my saviour. When it came to giving support, advice and relevant information to me about what had happened, what was going to happen and why all of this was necessary, they were the shining beacons in an otherwise rather cloudy story.

“Not only were they there for me, but they were there for Tim, my parents and family as well as my colleagues.”

It took Tim little time to decide he wanted to repay the ward by running the Tees Pride 10k run, which he duly completed and raised £420 in the process, due to generous contributions from family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

He said “While I was fundraising, the number of people I met and spoke to who had experience of heart problems were significant. It was a sobering thought.”

Tim also backs the local ‘Healthy Heart Check’ events which are run as part of the Tees-wide cardiovascular (CVD) screening programme.

The programme has been running since 2009 and has seen some fantastic results so far.

CVD project co-ordinator Gareth Harding said “We have engaged with several hundred workplaces across the Tees area so far, screening well over 6,000 people in the region. We hope to continue the good work and encourage more workplaces and community venues to engage with the service.”

The NHS Tees cardiovascular screening programme is inviting employers across the Teesside area to engage in setting up a workplace ‘Healthy Heart’ screening event for their employees. All that is required is a minimum of 15 employees who fit the following criteria:

  • Aged 40- 74
  • Have no existing cardio-vascular disease (this includes high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, stroke or high cholesterol)
  • No history of a Healthy Heart Check within the previous five years.
  • Must not be on medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol

Organisations who may not have 15 employees who fit the above criteria are welcome to host a collaborative screening event with nearby organisations or even open the offer out to family or friends if need be.

For more information on the workplace screening programme, contact Gareth Harding on 01287 284491.