Heart-felt gratitude for Joanne’s fighting spirit
British Heart Foundation rewards those who have made exceptional contributions to disease
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