Olympians run with mums
Olympians and Kiwi mums are striding across New Zealand this Mother’s Day to support the Heart Foundation for Women campaign.
New Zealand women and their families, from Paihia to Invercargill, will start their special day with a walk or run to support Kiwi women’s heart health.
Franklin resident Michelle Crutchley, who is taking part in the Pukekohe event, understands first-hand the impact that heart disease has on women and their families.
Crutchley’s father died of a heart attack at the age of 49 and her mother was a survivor of a heart attack five years ago.
‘‘The first indication of dad’s heart disease was when he died, which was a pretty horrible thing to go through,’’ she said.
‘‘There are now four grandsons in our wider family who never got to meet my dad.’’
A trio of Olympic athletes are fronting the annual event, including silver medallist sharp shooter Natalie Rooney, former women’s hockey player Kayla Whitelock, and middle-distance runner Nikki Hamblin.
Heart Foundation medical director Gerry Devlin said that heart disease was the biggest killer of Kiwi women and men
‘‘Women’s heart disease is responsible for more than 2600 Kiwi families losing the special woman in their lives every year. That is more than 50 women every week and many of these deaths are premature and preventable.’’
Devlin encourages women to talk to medical professionals about their heart health as research shows they are slow to seek medical advice for themselves.
‘‘All women 55 years and older should get a regular heart check at their general practice. Women of Maori, Pacific or Indo-Asian descent and those with known risk factors such as family history, diabetes or smoking should get a check from 45,’’ said Devlin.
‘‘The Heart Foundation has invested more than $57 million into heart research and specialist training for cardiologists since 1970. These events are a fantastic opportunity to raise both awareness of women’s heart health and much-needed funds for this research.’’ The Pukekohe event will be held at Bledisloe Park.
The Jennian Homes Mother’s Day Fun Run/Walk is on in Pukekohe on Sunday.