A Wallsend resident is fronting a British Heart Foundation (BHF) campaign to promote its calendar of challenge events, which helps to fund life saving research into heart disease.
After signing up to run for the charity, Gary Gleeson became a BHF champion by successfully completing the Great North Run with his brother Jon in memory of sister Laura, who died from a congenital heart condition in April 2016 aged just 31.
Laura was born with tricuspid atresia, meaning she only had three chambers in her heart instead of four.
In her lifetime, she had 17 heart operations to treat her condition, most undertaken by BHF-funded Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub.
Gary said his sister loved and lived every day to its fullest.
The 38-year-old said: “After one operation, Professor Yacoub came to see us and he looked exhausted. He said ‘it’s a miracle’.
“It was a testament to Laura’s fighting spirit that she had got through it.
“I would encourage everyone to become a BHF champion in 2018. There are plenty of events to choose from and they are suitable for all abilities.”
To find out more about the BHF’s challenge events, visit www.bhf.org.uk/events