A REDNAL girl is walking 61 miles in 61 days to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation on the first anniversary of her dad’s sudden life-changing cardiac arrest.
The cash raised by Freya Hosey will help fund vital research into heart and circulatory conditions.
The nine-year-old was inspired to do the challenge after her dad – Dave Hosey, who is from Bromsgrove, collapsed whilst at work on March 11, 2020.
Dave, who works as a maintenance engineer, said: “Before my cardiac arrest, I was an avid gym goer and was really into weight training.
“I had just returned to work after recovering from shoulder surgery and was about to finish my shift at the factory when I collapsed.
“I don’t remember anything but was told I let out a gasping noise before falling forward and headbutting the floor.”
Colleagues rushed to Dave’s aid and he was taken to hospital. There, it was confirmed Dave had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest, where the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body.
The dad-of-two was diagnosed with a condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) where the muscle wall of the heart becomes thickened and can cause life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms, that cause a cardiac arrest.
As HCM is an inherited disease, the condition would have been passed on through his family’s genes.
Dave’s younger brother Sean sadly died from a cardiac arrest when he was 19.
Other relatives – including Dave’s mum and another brother – have also been found to carry the faulty gene.
Whilst in hospital, Dave was fitted with an S-ICD (subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator), which was inserted under the skin of his chest.
The device will detect abnormal heart rhythms that could cause a cardiac arrest, and send an electrical shock to treat them.
Dave, 44, added: “The whole experience was a complete shock and I’m still adjusting to life with the defibrillator.
“Life afterwards was hard. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, I haven’t been able to benefit from much aftercare and couldn’t go through cardiac rehabilitation.
I was used to going to the gym and lifting heavy weights but I’ve had to stop doing that now.
“It’s just completely changed my life.
“However, I try not to dwell on it and know how lucky I am to still be here today.”
And, after seeing her dad’s recovery, Freya decided she wanted to raise funds in aid of the BHF.
The charity currently funds £21million into researching treatments for inherited heart conditions.
Freya started her walks last month and aims to complete the challenge with an eight-mile walk from her home in Rednal to her dad’s house on March 11, 2021 – one year since Dave’s cardiac arrest.
Dave said: “I’m so proud of Freya for deciding to do this challenge.
“It’s even more touching knowing the money she’s raising will help the BHF fund further research into heart and circulatory diseases that have impacted families like mine.”
Freya added: “I am finding the walks very challenging as I only stay with my dad on weekends, so we have to do lots of miles to keep up.
“It’s hard when it’s so cold.
“I am really proud of my brave dad and I keep doing my walks to make him proud.”
Statistics show there are around 300,000 people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the West Midlands and, shockingly, every 80 minutes, someone in the county dies from one of these conditions.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the largest independent funder of research into heart and circulatory diseases in the UK.
However, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the charity has had to cut its funding for new research by around £50million.
Karen Robinson, BHF’s fund-raising manager, said: “It is so touching to hear Freya has chosen to support the BHF in this way, and we will all be cheering her on throughout her challenge.
“We can only fund research to save and improve lives because of the generous donations of our supporters like Freya.
“In addition to the devastating health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the financial impact has meant our funding for new research has halved this year alone, so the support of the public has simply never been more needed.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/freyawalks61milesin61days to donate to Freya’s fund-raiser,
Anyone interested in supporting the BHF, which marks its 60th year in 2021, can contact Karen Robinson by emailing [email protected] or call 07388 945024.