Coleraine dad who had a heart attack on World Heart Day holds fundraiser
A Coleraine dad who suffered a heart attack on World Heart Day three years ago is taking part in a fundraising challenge on the same date this year to raise funds for British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI).
Nigel Armstrong is holding a sea water cycle challenge on the River Bann on Wednesday, September 29 which is World Heart Day.
The 41-year-old will cycle for 12 hours to raise funds for BHF NI’s vital heart research.
The dad of three suffered a heart attack on World Heart Day 2018. Nigel had been taking part in a Parkrun in Enniskillen when he began to feel unwell. He felt steadily worse and made the decision to stop off at Southwest Regional Hospital en route home, a decision that would save his life.
Nigel said: “I’d always considered myself fit and healthy and was running three to four times a week. I had just completed the Parkrun when I began to feel unwell and felt that real crushing pain in my chest.
“I stopped at the SWAH, and it was there in A&E they confirmed I’d had a heart attack and I was sent up to the high dependency unit. Two days later I had my first stent fitted. Over the course of the next eight months, I ended up having five more stents fitted so it was quite a journey to getting well again.”
The businessman said it was thanks to the support of his family and taking part in cardiac rehabilitation that he began to feel physically and mentally better.
“It obviously was a worrying time for my family. But I had fantastic support from my wife and three children. I also found my cardiac rehab at Causeway Hospital to be invaluable. They gave me the confidence to get exercising again afterwards and gave me so much mental support too as after a heart attack you can feel like your life has been turned upside down.”
The BHF has been at the forefront of heart attack research for 60 years. The charity’s research has led to discovering why most heart attacks occur, developing more sensitive tests to diagnose heart attacks and finding better combinations of medicines to administer after a heart attack giving patients the best chance of survival.
Nigel said he has organised the World Heart Day challenge to raise vital funds for future heart research.
“I have directly benefited from BHF research, and I want to give something back as well as raise money that will help save more lives in the future. I don’t think there’s a better day to do it than World Heart Day which will be exactly three years after I had my own heart attack. The 12 hour water cycle will be a real challenge but I’m really looking forward to it. It would be great to have some support on the day and have some local people taking part.”
Head of BHF NI Fearghal McKinney said: “We are very grateful to Nigel for organising this inspirational challenge on the same date he suffered his own heart attack. Nigel appreciates just how important funding research into heart and circulatory conditions is as he’s experienced the benefits first-hand. Fundraisers, like Nigel, bring us one step closer to our ultimate goal of beating heartbreak forever. We simply can’t achieve that without them. I’d like to thank Nigel and everyone who is supporting or taking part in this event.”
Local people can support Nigel’s fundraising in a number of ways. Water bikes will be available to rent between 7am and 7pm at a cost of £35 per hour. For the more competitive, we have prize up for grabs in the Sträva 2 minute Sprint (£15 per entry) and Relay Team challenge (£140 per team of four). All entry and rental fees will go directly to BHF NI. You can also sponsor Nigel through his JustGiving page www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nigel-armstrong3