Hospi­tal group puts heart pa­tients on the road to fit­ness

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Nick Lil­li­tos nlil­li­tos@thek­m­group.co.uk

PEO­PLE who have suf­fered se­ri­ous heart prob­lems are be­ing en­cour­aged to join a sup­port group in a pro­gramme of re­cov­ery that ini­tially starts at the William Har­vey Hospi­tal.

One man who knows the ben­e­fits is re­tired teacher Tom Wil­liams, whose wife Liz is sec­re­tary of the Ash­ford and District Heart Sup­port Group.

Mr Wil­liams, 68, of Ruckinge, south Ash­ford, ex­pe­ri­enced a heart at­tack three years ago af­ter re­turn­ing home from a round the world hol­i­day.

“I had a re­ally bad cold at that time and af­ter a lot of cough­ing I felt a slight pain in the chest and down my left arm,” said Mr Wil­liams, who taught at the Tow­ers School in Ken­ning­ton.

“My doc­tor gave me an ECG heart test but noth­ing showed up. But he was con­vinced it should be in­ves­ti­gated more and sent to me to the William Har­vey Hospi­tal where they put me on a tread­mill con­nected to an ECG.

“This time it did show some­thing was se­ri­ously wrong and I ended up at St Thomas’s Hospi­tal in Lon­don hav­ing three heart by­passes.”

The Ash­ford sup­port group has 40 mem­bers made up of for­mer heart pa­tients, their rel­a­tives and friends who meet in the River Room at Ash­ford’s Stour Cen­tre for talks, and to of­fer sup­port and en­cour­age­ment. They also go on or­gan­ised walks and hold quizzes.

“I would en­cour­age peo­ple with heart prob­lems to join us in the re­cov­ery pro­gramme which ini­tially starts at the William Har­vey Hospi­tal,” said Mr Wil­liams who now feels fully fit.

“I now go to the gym three times a week, some­thing I never did be­fore.”

An­other group mem­ber, David Cow­ley, said: “I would par­tic­u­larly em­pha­sise the mu­tual sup­port that comes from shar­ing what one of us has ex­pe­ri­enced in per­son, whether as a pa­tient or rel­a­tive or friend - we all suf­fer and there­fore are able to em­pathise with each other.

“As we get on the road to re­cov­ery we re­alise that the di­ag­no­sis is not the end of nor­mal life, and most of us cope and get on with things, ac­tu­ally able to count our bless­ings and even try to do things we didn’t do be­fore!”

The group is also in­ter­ested in reach­ing peo­ple who may have re­ceived a di­ag­no­sis but may be wait­ing for their surgery or hav­ing new drugs and won­der­ing about their re­ac­tions.

Con­tact Mrs Liz Wil­liams 01233 732560.

Pic­ture: Gary Browne PD1651199

David Cow­ley and Tom Wil­liams

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