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Hundreds of Cardiff Half runners to support BHF Cymru


BHF Cymru is welcoming almost 500 fundraisers to the capital as they take part in the first in-person Cardiff Half Marathon since the pandemic. With runners and walkers from across the UK supporting the event this Sunday, all with their own motivation for doing their bit for a range of good causes, it promises to be an emotional day for many.

Friends from Newport fundraising in memory of Amy Penn

A group of friends from Newport will be running in memory of 21-year-old Amy Penn, who died on June 14 last year having suffered from a congenital heart disease since she was born and having undergone multiple surgeries. Amy had always lived life to the full and her childhood friends Callum Doughty, Bethan Richards, Georgia Schwartz and Rose Evans have already raised over £2,500 for the BHF on their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/team/GeorgiaCalBethRose.

Hayley Penn with her daughter Amy

The friends say: “After the passing of our dear and greatly loved friend Amy last year, we would like to raise money for the British Heart Foundation by running the Cardiff Half Marathon in March 2022. Whilst Amy would laugh at us and tell us not to be stupid and ‘Go and get a gin instead’, we feel this is an appropriate way to remember her, as this charity played such an essential role in her life. In supporting her with her congenital heart disease, the BHF gave Amy so much and brought comfort and love to her beautiful life. Whilst this Half Marathon will not be easy, it is nothing compared to what she went through, and we will remember her incredible courage and bravery the whole way.”

Amy’s mother Hayley says despite the challenges she faced her daughter was determined to live as normal a life as possible: “Amy went to mainstream primary school and high school, she volunteered for the British Transplant Games in their journalism team, went to festivals, travelled with friends and went off to Southampton Uni for 2 years. She wanted to help other people and wrote a blog giving people advice on how to support someone they love who has a chronic condition. Her mains advice was:  As long as you treat your friend with kindness, and add a bit of normality to their life where you can, they will be more than grateful.”

Hayley says: “Unfortunately, despite her positive attitude, strength of spirit, and inspirational outlook on life, Amy suffered complications related to her condition and last year she passed away peacefully with myself, her dad Scott and her brother Callum at her bedside. We are grateful to her friends for keeping Amy’s memory alive by supporting the BHF this year.”

Nikki James, BHF Cymru Area fundraising manager, said: “Amy was a truly inspirational young woman who is fondly remembered by everyone who met her at the BHF. She was a member of our Teen Heart and then One Beat groups for many years.

“We are so grateful to her friends and family who are choosing to support our research in memory of Amy, and everyone taking part in this year’s Cardiff Half for the BHF. 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 that save lives every day. But millions of people are still waiting for the next breakthrough. We urgently need the public’s support to keep our life-saving research going and to discover the treatments and cures of the future.”

The veteran runner from Abercarn whose brother survived a heart attack

65-year-old Phil Fiander from Abercarn is looking forward to his first in-person half marathon in 28 years, after completing the virtual Cardiff Half last October. Phil, who recently retired from Wales Council for Voluntary Action where he worked for more than 20 years, has raised over £1,300 for the BHF on his team page www.justgiving.com/team/RunningwithDave.

Phil Fiander with the medal he received for running the virtual Cardiff Half last year

Phil will take on the challenge with son-in-law Luke Pearson and friends George Zelazik, Emma Laurie. The group are supporting the BHF in appreciation for the research they do into heart and circulatory diseases after his brother Dave survived a heart attack at the age of 57.

Over the last few weeks, the team has been braving the recent rain and storms as they ramped up their training for the event. Phil is particularly proud of his son-in-law Luke who has had to balance work and training whilst welcoming a baby into the world, young Alfie who will be there to cheer his dad on.

Phil says: “My brother Dave is not a smoker, but has the occasional drink, plays golf and has been active all of his life. We did not expect him to have a heart attack, and we are glad that he survived when many others don’t, so I wanted to raise some money for a very important cause.” Dave will be in Cardiff with the brothers’ wives Isabel and Nicky, and Phil’s daughter Emma to cheer the team on.

The staff and volunteers from a BHF shop in Cwmbran

Staff and volunteers from BHF Cymru’s Cwmbran shop will also be taking part in the run for the first time. Ben Warburton, Phil Clements and Michelle Giles have been training hard, with volunteer Ben already raising over £240 in a static half marathon last year on a running machine in the charity’s Home Plus Store in Gwent Square.

BHF staff and volunteers from Cwmbran manager Michelle Giles with Ben Warburton and Phil Clements

Ben says: “I have family members with heart problems, diabetes and other medical issues, so I wanted to fundraise for the BHF as well as giving back by volunteering in the shop.”

You can donate to the shop team at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Michelleharber

The research scientist running in memory of her grandfather

25-year-old Isabella Centeleghe from Manchester is completing a PhD and starting a role as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Cardiff University, working in Infection, Prevention and Control. She’s raised almost £1,000 for the BHF’s research. She says: “I am running the Cardiff Half in memory of friends and family members who have lost their life to heart related illness, especially my Nonno, Elio Centeleghe, and my friend who died when we were young.”

Isabella adds: “The BHF has helped halve the number of people dying from heart and circulatory disease in the UK but sadly every day hundreds of people lose their lives. £24 could pay for two hours of research by an early career scientist, but every pound helps so please give what you can to help me hit my target. The BHF is a charity close to my heart that has affected family members and friends over the years.” https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/isabella-centeleghe