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Caernarfon heart attack survivor in cycling challenge

Dilwyn Rowlands

A heart attack survivor from Caernarfon has raised over £3,200 in support of the British Heart Foundation and Awyr Las, the North Wales NHS Charity, with a sponsored cycle ride from Penygroes to Bodelwyddan.

Dilwyn Rowlands, says “Having reached the grand old age of 50 in January 2021, I considered myself fit and healthy! I ran an average of 20-30 miles per week and was a regular cyclist. However, whilst cycling with my wife on the Lon Eifion Cycle Path in April 2021 I had a heart attack resulting in me receiving specialist care at the North Wales Cardiac Care Centre (NWCC). This involved having a stent fitted within three hours of the heart attack.

“Since the event I have been genetically tested and it has been confirmed that I have a severe form of Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) which causes extremely high cholesterol, resulting in premature heart disease. There has always been a history of heart disease in my family, with my father dying at the age of 39 and several family members suffering with heart issues. So, reaching the age of 50 last January was more of a milestone than I ever envisaged.

“To show my appreciation for the care that I have received and continue to receive I set myself the challenge of cycling approximately 55 miles from the site of the heart attack (Penygroes) to the NWCC (Bodelwyddan Cath Lab) to raise funds for two very worthy causes Awyr Las ‘Keep the Beat’ and the British Heart Foundation.”

Dilwyn’s efforts come at a critical time for the BHF – the largest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory diseases in Wales and the UK. The last year has been the hardest in the charity’s 60-year history. The Covid-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on its income and as a result, research funding had to be cut in half, putting future life-saving discoveries at risk.

Heart and circulatory diseases cause one in four of all deaths in Wales, around 9,300 deaths each year – an average of 26 people each day, and around 340,000 people are living with heart and circulatory disease in Wales.

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Dilwyn and those who’ve donated for choosing to fundraise for us after a very challenging time for everyone involved in health care. Our research to help save and improve lives is only made possible thanks to our inspirational supporters like them. We need the public’s support now more than ever as the BHF marks its 60th anniversary year.

“Cutting research funding will impact the development of new ways of preventing, diagnosing and treating heart and circulatory diseases and we cannot allow the progress we have made over the last 60 years to slow down. We’re so grateful to everyone who chooses to fundraise for us in our 60th year and for helping us beat heartbreak forever.”