A PERSONAL trainer from Redditch who has had to undergo two open-heart surgeries will be doing his first 10k run in aid of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) next month.
Scott Francis, who prides himself on eating healthy and staying fit, was shocked to discover he had heart valve disease at just 22-years-old.
The condition meant Scott’s heart was unable to pump blood effectively which resulted in blood leaking back into his heart.
This meant that Scott became short of breath quicker than normal as his heart had to work even harder.
Scott underwent his first operation in December 2011 and had surgeons replace the leaky valve with a mechanical one.
Following the procedure things were looking good for Scott who appeared to be on the road to recovery after getting back into playing football.
But in August 2013 he noticed a change in his fitness levels and after undergoing various tests it was confirmed that scar tissue was blocking the new mechanical valve.
Scott had to undergo heart surgery again in 2014 but has since recovered.
“My initial diagnosis came as a shock because I was physically fit, rarely drank and never smoked.
“I had recently qualified as a Level 2 Fitness instructor with a passion for health and fitness – so this is the last thing I thought would ever happen to me.”
The British Heart Foundation estimates that there are 650,000 people living with the cardiovascular disease in the West Midlands alone.
Around 13,821 people in the region devastatingly losing their lives to conditions including heart disease, stroke and heart failure every year.
The BHF funds research into conditions, including heart diseases, stroke and vascular dementia, along with their risk factors including diabetes.
Each year, the charity funds £100 million to find cures and treatments for these conditions.
Donna Stokes, BHF’s Fundraising Manager for Birmingham and Solihull, said: “Scott’s story highlights that heart disease can affect anyone, young, old, male or female and the physically fit.
“It also shows what a long way we have come in the treatment of heart disease.
“The BHF helped to establish the first Coronary Care Unit in this country and provided funding to surgeon Mr Donald Ross to devise the first successful surgical technique for replacing damaged heart valves.
“These techniques are now used worldwide today and have increased the life expectancy of thousands of people like Scott.”
Scott will be running the the Handsworth Park 10k run on September 16.
Visit www.bhf.org.uk/handsworth10k for more information.