A mum from Newport who was diagnosed with a rare form of heart failure shortly after her son was born is supporting a campaign by BHF Cymru to raise awareness and vital funds for lifesaving research this Christmas. The BHF is urging people to donate to the charity to help fund its lifesaving research into heart and circulatory diseases.
The charity’s ‘gift that keeps on living’ campaign is highlighting stories like Kate Inwood’s to show how vital the British Heart Foundation’s research is – for the millions of people in the UK affected by these conditions, and for their loved ones.
Kate, now 51, found out she had a condition called postpartum (or peripartum) cardiomyopathy (PPCM) when her baby Llewi was just three months old in 2011. Aged 40, Kate was shocked that the symptoms she’d experienced since giving birth were signs of a life-threatening heart condition.
PPCM symptoms including tiredness, shortness of breath, swollen ankles, and a feeling of a fluttering or racing heart, known as palpitations. The condition causes enlarging of the heart around the time of childbirth which reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body properly. It affects hundreds of women in the UK each year.
The BHF funded the first UK study into this condition in 2018, which discovered that 1 in 5,000 pregnancies in Scotland resulted in the mother developing PPCM. Kate is grateful that the BHF pioneered treatments including medication, a pacemaker and internal defibrillator which have enabled her to enjoy her life as a mum since diagnosis. Kate is encouraging people to support the BHF as its research helps keep families together for longer.
“It’s challenging living with a heart condition, and life is never the same after you’ve been diagnosed, but thanks to research into treatments for heart failure, funded by the BHF, I’ve been able to spend Christmases with my wonderful husband Tim, our beautiful son, and our amazing family since my diagnosis. Because of the incredible work pioneering new treatments and exploring potential cures, families like ours have the gift of hope that we can all be together for many Christmases to come.”
Kate works as a teaching assistant at Jubilee Park Primary School in Rogerstone, and is organising a collection of items including toys, games, books, DVDs, collectibles and good quality clothing and gifts from families of children who attend, which she’ll take to the BHF shop on Commercial Street in Newport.
Items can be donated at 3:30pm on Friday 18th and 25th November and Friday 3rd December.
Head of BHF Cymru, Rhodri Thomas said:
“We are so grateful to Kate for her fantastic support for the BHF. At Christmas, we usually gift material things. But for this festive season, we’re asking people to give the gift of a longer life for people with heart conditions, by helping to fund our groundbreaking research.
“Every day our 30 shops across Wales turn the public’s generous donations into funds for vital research that has turned ideas that once seemed like ‘science fiction' into treatments and cures that save and improve lives every day. But despite all our progress, millions of people are still waiting for the scientific breakthroughs of tomorrow, so that they can spend more time with the people they love.
“It is only thanks to the generous donations of the public that we can provide hope for people like Kate and find the cures and treatments of tomorrow.”
Store manager Ana Vasques said:
“We are always grateful to hear from anyone who wants to find out more about volunteering at the shop or making a donation. You can call in to donate in the shop, direct to Kate, or we can arrange a collection if people can’t get to the school collection point. Give me a ring on 01633 266027 and we’ll do all we can to help.”
Shoppers are also being encouraged to add a donation at the till to raise even more funds for research.
To donate to the British Heart Foundation this festive season and give the gift that keeps on living, visit bhf.org.uk/Christmas