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Heart attack survivor holds Elvis tribute night to fund life saving research

Dafydd, Wynne, Vera and Andy

A heart attack survivor from Cwm-y-glo, near Caernarfon has organised a fundraising Elvis tribute concert to raise awareness of the condition and give back to others in support of life-saving heart research.

Vera Price, 74, believes she owes her life to the care she received at Ysbyty Gwynedd and Broadgreen Hospital, Liverpool after her heart-attack and subsequent triple heart bypass last September. Having made a good recovery, she wants to raise money for the British Heart Foundation to fund lifesaving research.

Vera is 74 and lives with her husband Dafydd, 77. She believed herself to be fit and healthy, regularly walking for miles with friends and attending tai chi and martial arts classes.

However, in September 2021, Vera was walking with her friend Gwenda Humphries, 69, around Llyn Padarn. Gwenda commented that Vera seemed short of breath. Feeling a pain across her chest and arm, Vera suspected she may be having a heart attack. She refused Gwenda’s offer to call an ambulance and phoned her husband, Dafydd, who drove her to Gwynedd Hospital.

At the hospital, Vera was told she needed a stent. Following an angiogram, she found out she had to have a triple bypass operation in Broad Green Hospital, Liverpool. After the procedure, Vera spent a month in hospital recovering, which was challenging as no visitors were allowed in hospitals due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, she says frequent video chats with her grandchildren kept her spirits up and motivated her on her recovery.

Vera is now planning a fundraising event for BHF Cymru at the Padarn Hotel, Llanberis. Starting at 7.30pm, with doors opening at 7, local performer Wynne Roberts will perform his Elvis tribute act “For the Heart”. With match-funding from Santander Bangor, Vera, her family and friends hope to raise as much money as possible to fund life-saving research.

Supporting Vera’s efforts, Elvis tribute performer Reverend Wynne Roberts BEM, who is also Ysbyty Gwynedd’s Chaplain, will be performing a full Las Vegas-style performance at the Padarn Hotel on 26th March.

He says, “I am so pleased to be able to partner with BHF in giving this concert as an Elvis Tribute Act.  Cardiac illness can affect any of us and I am sure it has touched the lives of every single family in our community. Yet so many of the cardiac conditions are either preventable or treatable. BHF has been at the forefront the battle for the heart and mind of the nation. To quote Elvis – we do not have a ‘wooden heart’ – ours need to be looked after with care.”

Heart and circulatory diseases cause around 26 deaths each day in Wales, but since the BHF was established in 1961, the annual number of heart and circulatory disease deaths in Wales has fallen by half.

Adam Fletcher, Head of BHF Cymru, says: “We are so grateful to Vera, Wynne and everyone helping to deliver this amazing event in Llanberis. For more than 60 years, the public’s generosity has funded BHF research that has turned ideas that once seemed like ‘science fiction’ into treatments and cures that save lives every day.

“We urgently need the public’s support to keep our life saving research going, and to discover the treatments and cures of the future. We are the biggest independent funder of heart and circulatory disease research in Wales, and in the last 5 years, BHF has supported £9.5m worth of research in Wales, supporting the work of 64 researcher staff.”

Vera, who is also working with the BHF in a campaign to raise awareness of the fact that heart attacks affect women as well as men, adds, “I didn’t expect to have a heart attack, I believed I was fit and healthy and was active every day. After my experience I want to help in any way I can and hope we raise as much awareness and money as possible for the BHF’s research.”

To book tickets for the Elvis tribute concert contact the Padarn Lake Hotel on 01286 871231