Heart-felt grat­i­tude for Joanne’s fight­ing spirit

Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion re­wards those who have made ex­cep­tional con­tri­bu­tions to dis­ease

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

AN Uxbridge woman has won an award from a na­tional char­ity for her ef­forts fight­ing heart dis­ease.

Joanne Brookes, 34, was one of the win­ners at the Bri­tish Heart Foun­da­tion’s (BHF) heart hero awards. The re­sults were an­nounced at a spe­cial cer­e­mony at the BHF’s re­search cen­tre at Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don.

Joanne, who grew up in Ruis­lip Manor, was recog­nised for over­com­ing her own heart prob­lems and work­ing to help others with sim­i­lar con­di­tions.

Joanne was born with two holes in her heart. Her con­di­tion was so se­ri­ous that doc­tors feared that she might not sur­vive.

De­spite a num­ber of op­er­a­tions, Joanne con­tin­ues to ex­pe­ri­ence health prob­lems as a con­se­quence of her con­di­tion. Aged just 21, she had to have a pace­maker and then later an im­plantable de­fib­ril­la­tor to make sure her heart con­tin­ued to work.

De­spite these chal­lenges, Joanne has worked to raise aware­ness of heart dis­ease in her lo­cal area. She has given talks in lo­cal schools and at pa­tient group meet­ings to talk about her ex­pe­ri­ence of liv­ing with a de­fib­ril­la­tor.

She has also formed a sup­port group to pro­vide peo­ple af­fected by heart prob­lems the op­por­tu­nity to share ex­pe­ri­ences.

Joanne said: “I feel over­whelmed and so pleased to win this award. It re­ally means a lot to me as I have had heart prob­lems since I was a child.

“I think it is vi­tal that the BHF con­tinue their re­search to help other peo­ple like me.”

The char­ity’s heart hero awards cel­e­brate the ex­cep­tional con­tri­bu­tion of in­di­vid­u­als, such as fundrais­ers, sci­en­tists or health pro­fes­sion­als in fight­ing heart dis­ease.

Si­mon Gille­spie, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive at the BHF pre­sented Joanne with her award.

He said: “I am de­lighted that we can recog­nise Joanne for her amaz­ing com­mit­ment sup­port­ing peo­ple with heart con­di­tions. Her ef­forts are all the more im­pres­sive as Joanne has achieved this whilst fac­ing so many heart re­lated prob­lems of her own. She is a true in­spi­ra­tion and couldn’t be more de­serv­ing of this award.”

De­spite great progress over the last 50 years, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease still kills around 155,000 peo­ple each year – more than a quar­ter of all deaths in the UK.

The BHF is the UK’s lead­ing in­de­pen­dent fun­der of car­dio­vas­cu­lar re­search. Many ad­vances in the treat­ment of heart con­di­tions are a re­sult of sci­ence funded by the char­ity.

n AMAZ­ING COM­MIT­MENT: Joanne Brookes, cen­tre, was pre­sented her heart hero award by Si­mon Gille­spie, chief ex­ec­u­tive BHF, left, and Pro­fes­sor Michael Sch­nei­der, Im­pe­rial Col­lege Lon­don

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