Spoken from the heart.

More than 42,000 people – under 75 – died from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK in 2017. It’s the latest figures l could find and they show a rise in numbers for the first time in 50 years.
My elder sister’s husband was a recent casualty so our family – like many others –  has been affected in this tragic way.
Out of the blue, today l  have heard from someone who hired me to compere a fashion show he organised in Keynsham 35 years ago – and a man who tells me he is lucky to be alive to remind me of that event.
Actually, Gerald Creed has another motive for saying ‘hello’ and it’s to ask me if l would publicise an annual event he holds to try and pay back those who saved his life and continue – with the aid of on-going research – to help others.
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Gerald Creed. Photographer © paulgillisphoto.com
Here’s Gerald’s story.

“What happens when the ticker stops ticking?

I was out walking with my wife in the well known National Trust beauty spot, Lydford Gorge, when I felt really unwell. I lay there, insisting that I was just dehydrated but a passér-by, with more sense than me, called the Ranger who then called the Paramedics.

They soon confirmed that I’d suffered a Heart Attack and rushed me to Plymouth’s Derriford Hospital. This is when the NHS that we know and love shines!

A team were waiting for me there and within minutes I was receiving the treatment that saved my life. After the procedure, the doctor told me that I needed a Triple Coronary Artery By-Pass Graft.

Can you imagine getting this news part way through a day when you got up feeling fine and ready for anything? That’s how heart attacks happen and one in four of us will die from heart disease.

The NHS do a brilliant job but we know they will never have enough money to buy all of the latest kit that the surgeons would like. This is where the Big-Hearted Valentine’s Ball helps. Last year the Ball raised enough money to buy a state of the art Fibre Optic Intubating Laryngoscope.

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Professor Ascione, one of the UK’s leading heart surgeons and a pioneer of ‘Beating Heart Surgery’ is patron of the charity. He explained how this equipment will save lives in The Intensive Care Unit at The Bristol Heart Institute where he operates on seriously ill patients from all over the West Country.

He has asked us if we can raise the money to buy the Bristol Heart Institute High Definition Head Camera equipment which will enable him and his fellow surgeons to teach young doctors both in his hospital and across the World the intricate skills needed to perform this level of surgery and in particular ‘Beating Heart Surgery’ where the patient’s heart is not put onto a machine during the operation. This speeds recovery and reduces complications but requires a great level of skill.

All you have to do to help is book tickets for the ball – on Saturday, February 15th – and come along for a fabulous evening. It starts with Welcome drinks before a three-course meal prepared by the Head Chef at Bath’s 4-star Apex Hotel.

Professor Ascione will take five minutes to tell us about the work he and his team are doing in The Bristol Heart Institute before we dance the night away to the UK’s No 1 Queen Tribute Band, ‘Pure Queen’ with smoke lights and lots of great music.
‘Pure Queen’ tribute band.
The show is hosted by TV and Cruise Ship comedian Tank Sherman. This equipment will help save lives both here and around the World.”
Pleased to give you and the event a plug Gerald.

Book your tickets today at www.bigheartedvalentinesball.co.uk