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Simon’s heart set on fitness
2:00pm Friday 8th March 2013 in News
WHEN Simon Appleby was diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition there was only one thing for it.
He would run five triathlons in five months and raise money for a defibrillator for his Summertown community. And given the chance he would do more.
The 40-year-old father-of-two said: “After a few heavy nights I was taken to a hospital in Blackpool and they found I had a heart flutter. It was the usual kind of stuff, lots of spicy food and alcohol. That was the old Simon. They gave me beta blockers and tried to calm me down.
“After a few more extensive tests I went to see a specialist and it got to the point where we were talking about putting an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in my chest.
“I was diagnosed with Brugada.”
This can cause episodes where the heart beats too fast, leading to blackouts. It places the person at a higher risk of sudden cardiac death, the UK’s biggest killer with 100,000 cases each year.
Mr Appleby said: “I asked all of my friends, family and colleagues if they knew what it was and none of them had even heard of it.”
Once he found out, his 70-year-old father was tested and was also found to have the disorder. Mr Appleby is now having genetic tests to try to map out family history and ensure his two young children are not at risk.
His mission was to get fit, spread the word, and even try to save lives.
He said: “It was full-on life-changing. It’s so important people are aware of heart rhythm disorders like this because then they can know what to look for and get tested. The sad thing is so many people don’t even know they have it.”
The married life sciences manager has shed more than three stone through a gruelling training regime he fits around his job at global supercomputing firm STI.
He hopes to raise money for a potentially lifesaving defibrillator, which shocks the failing heart back into life, to be based in Summertown. He has also raised £1,200 towards a £2,000 target.
He said: “I’m already training hard, I’m working long days and then making sure I do a run, cycle and swim each day as well. It’s tough, but definitely worth it.
“This is a cause I am completely committed to.”
He aims to complete triathlons at Oxford Radley, Blenheim, Windsor, Winchester and Andover.
Trudie Lobban MBE, founder and chief executive of Arrhythmia Alliance, said: “Simon really is an inspiration. In completing what can only be described as an amazing fundraising challenge, Simon is not only helping to raise awareness of Brugada but also helping to place a lifesaving device in his community.”
- To donate, log on to http://justgiving.com/sappleby
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