Fundraiser from Henlow takes on running challenge to thank British Heart Foundation after dad's life-saving heart surgery

Alexandra's dad suffered a heart attack just before she was due to get married - but he was determined to walk her down the aisle

Wednesday, 21st July 2021, 2:00 pm

A Henlow woman, whose father has survived two heart attacks, is running a half-marathon to raise money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Alexandra Hind Woodward, 36, is taking part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon to say thank you for the life-saving care her father, Philip, has received over the last 10 years.

In 2010, Philip, who is now 80, was diagnosed with familial hypercholesteremia (FH), a genetic condition that causes people to have exceptionally high levels of cholesterol in their blood. If left untreated, it increases a person’s risk of developing heart and circulatory disease.

Alexandra Hind Woodward

In the years since that diagnosis, the father-of-four, has had 11 separate heart-related procedures including a quadruple heart bypass, a heart valve replacement, and an ablation - a treatment to correct abnormal heart rhythms.

In 2014, he had his second heart attack shortly before Alexandra was due to get married.

She said: “Dad was very ill after his heart attack. He was meant to be walking me down the aisle, but everyone was worried whether he would really be well enough to do it.

“However, if Dad is anything he is a fighter. He had walked my three older sisters down aisle, and he was absolutely determined to do the same for me. It seemed to inspire him to keep going.”

Alexandra and her dad, Philip

A few months after Alexandra’s wedding, Philip had an abdominal aortic aneurysm a dangerous condition where there is a bulging of the major blood vessel that runs from the heart down to the chest and stomach.

Alexandra said: “The only treatment for this type of aneurysm is a high-risk surgery.

"With everything that’s happened with Dad’s health, waiting to hear if he survived surgery was the most nerve-wracking experience. Even now, just thinking about it makes my stomach do somersaults.”

Grateful for the medical treatment her father has benefitted from, Alexandra will take part in the London Landmarks Half Marathon on August 1.

The 13-mile route takes runners past some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks including Nelson’s Column, the London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral.

Alexandra said: “Dad has been on a huge journey with his health over the last decade. He has become quite a project for the team at Harefield Hospital who have been incredible. But despite everything that’s been thrown at him, he’s taken it in his stride and been an inspiration to me.”

“Taking part in this event and raising money for the BHF is my way of giving back. It is amazing how much medical science has changed, even in the short time my family has needed its support. The BHF funds so much research to improve treatment and without those resources my dad might not be alive today.