Olympians run with mums

Franklin County News - - SPORT -

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.

PATRICK HAMIL­TON

The Jen­nian Homes Mother’s Day Fun Run/Walk is on in Pukekohe on Sun­day.

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